Radical move: All mink in Denmark must be killed

Mink breeder Thorbjoern Jepsen - minkPhoto: Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix via AP
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A mutated coronavirus has begun to spread among the mink population in Denmark. Now all the mink in the country has to be killed to stop the spread.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the news at a press conference on Wednesday. 

Danish police estimate that between 15 and 17 million mink has to be killed.

A mutated variant of the coronavirus has begun to spread among mink in Denmark. 

The virus has also been transmitted from mink to humans, and so far, twelve people have been diagnosed with the mutated virus.

The Armed Forces, the Danish Emergency Management Agency, and the Home Guard are now being deployed to kill the country’s mink population. 

Breeding animals must also be killed.

Justification

The Danish Prime Minister justifies the move by saying that the transfer of the disease from mink to humans can undermine a future vaccine’s effect.

“You will lose your life’s work, that – in some cases – has been inherited through several generations. 

“It is a day of sorrow for you and everyone who works in the mink industry. The government is aware of this,” Frederiksen told the fur industry at a virtual press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Kåre Mølbak at the Statens Serum Institut says that the mutated virus variant is a cause for concern.

“It is not inhibited by antibodies to the same degree as the common virus. The antibodies still have an effect, but not as great,” Mølbak said.

“Continued mink breeding would entail a significant risk to public health – both nationally and internationally,” he further stated.

Disaster for the industry

It has previously been estimated that killing all mink populations could cost up to 5 billion Danish kroner, according to Danish TV 2.

“Of course, we should not be the cause of a new pandemic. We do not know the professional basis for this assessment and the risk – we have not gained insight into that – but the government’s decision is a disaster for the industry and Denmark,” leader Tage Pedersen at the 

Danish Mink Breeders association (Danske Minkavlere) said.

The government will compensate breeders for the lost turnover and provide full coverage for fixed costs. 

In addition, Minister of Trade and Industry Simon Kollerup said that companies working in the industry will also be given a helping hand.

Corona infection has been found on 207 mink farms in the country. On 67 farms, they have already had to kill mink.

There have also been examples of corona infection on mink farms in the Netherlands and Spain. 

According to the Veterinary Institute, there is no suspicion of infection among mink in Norway.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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