Otago Daily Times

Danes con­tinue cull; virus kills US minks

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COPEN­HAGEN: The Dan­ish gov­ern­ment put for­ward hastily drawn up leg­is­la­tion yes­ter­day to back up its or­der to cull all the coun­try’s farmed mink, ad­mit­ting it lacked the le­gal ba­sis for the mea­sure aimed at pre­vent­ing hu­man con­ta­gion of a mu­tated coro­n­avirus strain.

Au­thor­i­ties last week em­barked on a plan to elim­i­nate Den­mark’s en­tire pop­u­la­tion of 17 mil­lion mink, say­ing the new strain could move to hu­mans and evade fu­ture Covid­19 vac­cines.

How­ever, the mi­nor­ity So­cial Demo­cratic gov­ern­ment has drawn fierce crit­i­cism from the in­dus­try and politi­cians, who said the or­der, af­ter ear­lier culls of in­fected mink, was il­le­gal and ques­tioned the science be­hind it.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion has said trans­mis­sion of the virus be­tween mink and hu­mans was ‘‘a con­cern’’ and Bri­tish Health Min­is­ter Matt Han­cock sug­gested yes­ter­day the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should look again at the in­dus­try, al­lud­ing to a pos­si­ble global ban.

China, Den­mark and Poland, which or­dered test­ing of its mink yes­ter­day, are the largest pro­duc­ers of mink pelts, an­i­mal rights group Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional — United King­dom says.

Tage Ped­er­sen, head of the Dan­ish mink breed­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion, has urged farm­ers to con­tinue the cull, say­ing the in­dus­try, which em­ploys around 6000 peo­ple, was fin­ished.

Mean­while, more than 15,000 mink in the United States have died of the coro­n­avirus since Au­gust, and au­thor­i­ties are keep­ing about 12 farms un­der quar­an­tine while they in­ves­ti­gate, state agri­cul­ture of­fi­cials said.

The states of Utah, Wis­con­sin and Michi­gan — where the coro­n­avirus has killed mink — said they do not plan to cull an­i­mals and are mon­i­tor­ing the si­t­u­a­tion in Den­mark.

The coro­n­avirus has also in­fected cats, dogs, a lion and a tiger, ac­cord­ing to the USDA. — Reuters

 ?? PHOTO: REUTERS ?? Cull con­tin­ues . . . Dan­ish health au­thor­i­ties are as­sisted by mem­bers of the Dan­ish Armed Forces in dis­pos­ing of dead mink in a mil­i­tary area near Hol­ste­bro in Den­mark on Tuesday.
PHOTO: REUTERS Cull con­tin­ues . . . Dan­ish health au­thor­i­ties are as­sisted by mem­bers of the Dan­ish Armed Forces in dis­pos­ing of dead mink in a mil­i­tary area near Hol­ste­bro in Den­mark on Tuesday.
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