The government of Denmark announced that it plans to cull more than 15 million mink-the country's whole population-after reports that the ferret-like animals can transmit a mutated form of the novel coronavirus to people, reports James Gorman for the New York Times.
Health authorities found virus strains in humans and in mink which showed decreased sensitivity against antibodies, potentially lowering the efficacy of future vaccines, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.
Denmark's minister for food, Mogens Jensen, said 207 farms were now infected, up from 41 last month, and the virus has spread to all of the western peninsula of Jutland.
The country's police, army and home guard would be deployed in order to speed up the culling process, Frederiksen said.
Half of the 783 coronavirus cases in northern Denmark are related to minks, the country's Health Minister, Magnus Heunicke, said, according to the report.
Minks have also been culled in the Netherlands and Spain after infections were discovered.
Denmark reportedly has been trying to cull infected mink since June, but has found it hard to contain infections in the animal.
There are between 15 million and 17 million mink in Denmark as they are the world's largest producer of mink fur, with the animals bred on almost 1200 farms.
This Is What Voters Have Chosen as the New Mississippi State Flag
Cotten, who is Black, said she was indifferent to the old flag. "It's just what we had". "But I am glad it is time for a change". If the vote had failed, a new option would have been presented in 2021; the old flag would not have returned .
Hence, the decision to cull mink was not made lightly. The Netherlands is now the third largest mink fur producer, but Dutch authorities already had plans to phase out mink farming by 2024.
Police said the culling should happen as soon as possible.
"Farmed mink do not exhibit a large amount of genetic diversity, which can favor infectious disease transmission and susceptibility", Jasmine Reed, a spokesperson for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells National Geographic.
Almost 60,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the last 24 hours in France, almosst 20,000 more than on Wednesday, while Denmark shuts down over a mutation of the illness.
It's not clear how long it will take for the millions of mink to be slaughtered.
Breeder Jesper Christensen said farmers would have to wait and see what compensation the government offers them. This comes after one million mink were killed in October.
- Animal rights group Humane Society International - United Kingdom says China, Denmark and Poland are the largest mink producers globally, with 60 million killed annually for their fur.