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

Katie Ramirez
November 22, 2020

In a joint statement, owners of the mink farms said the government decision "has left three families in rural Ireland devastated and without a livelihood".

Meanwhile, minks in other countries have also tested positive for the coronavirus, including outbreaks on mink farms in the United States.

"The government has been promising for a long time now to shut these fur farms, after the Solidarity - People Before Profit Bill introduced past year", Deputy Murphy said.

"The Department of Agriculture continues to engage with the mink farmers to consider the next steps", the department spokesperson said.

11 licensed mink farms now reside in OR, with eight in Marion County, though four now do not have any animals, and the others are located in Linn, Clackamas and Clatsop counties.

Six European states, South Africa, the Faroe Islands and the U.S. have reported mink-related COVID-19 mutations, confirming the transmission of the coronavirus from mink to humans.

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Last week it emerged that Denmark's government did not have the legislation in place for such a directive, though a deal was later reached to create a retroactive legal basis for the cull. Jensen repeated his earlier apologies, offering particular regret to the country's mink farmers.

"There have been no new cases of the "Cluster 5" mink mutation since September 15, which has led to the Danish infectious disease authority SSI to conclude that this variant has most likely been eradicated", Danish Health Ministry said in a statement issued earlier today.

The cull comes amid concern that a mutation of the virus could affect the rollout and efficacy of a Covid-19 vaccine. "Mainly because of the number of mink infected with COVID-19".

The Department of Agriculture said it is engaging with the country's three remaining fur farms.

It said this is available to view along with specific protocols for livestock farmers regarding TB testing and the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 on the dedicated COVID hub of the Department website. One variant, termed "Cluster-5" which was found in five farms and 12 people, has sparked concern over fears this variant could be less responsive to antibody treatments or vaccines.

Dublin South West TD Paul Murphy has responded to news that Irish mink farms are going to be closed. It was the large mink reservoir of COVID-19.

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