Ireland’s mink population to be culled amid Covid-19 fears

Katie Ramirez
November 19, 2020

Denmark's minority government finally gained parliamentary support on Tuesday to legalise the cull it ordered earlier this month of all farmed mink to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but a poll showed public trust had plummeted over the crisis.

With three times more minks than people, the Scandinavian country is the world's biggest exporter, selling pelts for around 670 million euros ($792 million) annually, and the second-biggest producer behind China.

Viruses such as the novel coronavirus that emerged in China late past year mutate constantly and new variants are not necessarily worse than the previous ones.

Authorities deployed the military and police to help Denmark's 1,100 mink farmers with the cull.

The Danish agriculture minister stepped down this week over the country's handling of the situation and an illegal order by the government to cull the country's farmed mink population.

Later, the country's opposition urged the prime minister to also step down. More than a quarter million Danes have since gone into lockdown in northern regions of the country where a mutated variation of the coronavirus has infected the mink.

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The Department of Agriculture previously said it had maintained contact with Irish mink farms and while a testing regime was to be implemented, no Covid cases had yet been identified.

There is a already a commitment in the Programme for Government to phase out mink farming in Ireland.

Some experts have questioned the conclusions drawn by Danish health authorities about the danger posed by the strain, and suspect them of overreacting.

They were now to be lifted early, as of Friday, now that the variant is believed to have disappeared.

The worldwide health watchdog also confirmed the susceptibility of mink to the coronavirus, which thereby renders them risky to humans, with scientists describing the mutated form of the virus as less responsive to antibodies and thus endangering the efficacy of upcoming vaccines.

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