Otago Daily Times
Danes continue cull; virus kills US minks
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