Denmark to cull all farmed minks over coronavirus mutation
November 5, 2020 - Denmark’s prime minister has said that the government wants to cull all 15 million minks in Danish farms, after a mutated version of the new coronavirus was found to spread from the animals to humans.
Mette Frederiksen said a report from a government agency that maps the coronavirus in Denmark has shown a mutation in the virus found in 12 people in the northern part of the country who were infected by minks. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said half the 783 human Covid-19 cases in northern Denmark “are related” to mink.
“It is very, very serious,” Frederiksen said. “Thus, the mutated virus in minks can have devastating consequences worldwide.”
She cited a government report which said the mutated virus had been found to weaken the body’s ability to form antibodies, potentially making the current vaccines under development for Covid-19 ineffective, according to the BBC.
Denmark is one of the world’s main mink fur exporters, producing an estimated 17 million furs per year. Kopenhagen Fur, a cooperative of 1,500 Danish breeders, accounts for 40 percent of the global mink production. Most of its exports go to China and Hong Kong, AP said.
According to government estimates, culling the country’s 15 million minks could cost up to 5 billion kroner ($785 million).
Last month, Denmark started culling millions of minks in the north of the country after initial discoveries of Covid-19. The government has promised to compensate farmers.
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