Health Care

Denmark: COVID Mutation Has Spread From Minks to Humans

Denmark: COVID Mutation Has Spread From Minks to Humans”

Denmark's government says it plans to cull all 17 million minks at fur farms across the country after it confirmed the spread of a mutated strain of the coronavirus.

"The mutated virus - via mink - can carry the risk that the upcoming vaccine will not work as it should", Frederiksen, who is now self-isolating after possible exposure to COVID-19, said in a virtual press conference.

"Particularly with mink farms and a mutated virus, we have to be very careful that it doesn't get established in a wild animal population [that could become] a reservoir for future infections".

The head of the WHO's emergencies programme, Mike Ryan, called on Friday for full-scale scientific investigations of the complex issue of humans - outside China - infecting mink which in turn transmitted the virus back to humans.

Twelve people have been diagnosed with the virus strain so far, Frederiksen said Wednesday, according to Reuters.

"Although not a ban on fur farming, this move signals the end of suffering for millions of animals confined to small wire cages on Danish fur farms exclusively for the purposes of a trivial fur fashion that no one needs", she said. Minks and other weasels have turned out to be one of the unexpected casualties of the covid-19 pandemic, as they've proven to be vulnerable to catching the virus from infected people and then easily spreading it to each other.

"Although the death of millions of mink - whether culled for COVID-19 or killed for fur - is an animal welfare tragedy, fur farmers will now have a clear opportunity to pivot away from this cruel and dying industry and choose a more humane and sustainable livelihood instead", Humane Society International-Europe spokesperson Joanna Swabe said.

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The efforts to cull mink in Denmark will be partially carried out by the police and armed forces, together with the country's veterinary and food administration.

- France, which exported roughly 120 million euros (S$192 million) worth of fur in 2019, has chose to outlaw mink farming from 2025.

"It is necessary to cull all the minks".

Denmark, the world's largest mink fur exporter, produces an estimated 17 million furs per year.

Mink infection is not limited to Denmark. Kopenhagen Fur, a cooperative of 1,500 Danish breeders, accounts for 40% of the global mink production.

Minks at more than 1,000 farms are to be culled. "We commend the Danish prime minister on her decision to take such an essential and science-led step to protect Danish citizens from the deadly coronavirus".

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