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Denmark to cull 17 million minks amid coronavirus fears

Posted November. 06, 2020 07:52,   

Updated November. 06, 2020 07:52


Seventeen million minks will be culled in Denmark, the world’s biggest producer of mink fur amid fears that a mutated version of the coronavirus found in minks could make the current vaccines under development ineffective.

According to BBC, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Wednesday at a news conference on Tuesday that five cases of the new virus strain were found on mink farms and 12 people had become infected.

The authorities declared minks are a threat to public health and decided to cull 17 million minks on fur farms in Denmark as soon as possible, which would cost the nation up to 7.9 million dollars. If the mutated virus spreads, it can render the vaccines that are being developed across the world ineffective. Vaccines are made of antigens including protein inside a virus, which means a future COVID-19 vaccine would not work against the mutated virus. In addition, it could be more fatal when humans contract coronavirus that was spread from humans to animals.

According to the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, about 1,100 farms in Denmark produce 19 million milk fur every year, which is worth 1.1 billion euros. “The government’s decision is a disaster to the mink industry and to Denmark,” said Tage Pedersen, chairman of Danish Fur Breeders' Association.

Against this backdrop, Reuters reported that Danish Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and government leaders including Prime Minister Frederiksen are self isolating.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com