Denmark, the world’s largest supplier of mink fur, will slaughter 17 million mink due to a mutation of the coronavirus discovered in the mammal that may prevent the body from producing antibodies.
The decision was made after some mink have been identified as positive for Coronavirus. The fear is that the animals will spread a mutation of the virus, which could further harm humans and also harm a future vaccine.
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Mette Frederiksen, the prime minister of Denmark, made the announcement made Wednesday, stating that evidence shows the mutated coronavirus degrade the effectiveness of vaccines when one is developed.
Referring to guidance from the government’s public health and infectious disease department, she said “The conclusion from the Statens Serum Institut is quite clear: Continued mink breeding during an ongoing COVID-19 epidemic entails a significant risk to public health, including the possibilities for preventing COVID-19 with vaccines.”
The armed forces will be deployed to the 1,500 mink farms that have between 15 and 17 million of the rodents, to perform the culling.
“Our opportunity to get on the other side of the coronavirus is a vaccine that people around the world are working at high pressure to develop. Of course, it is absolutely crucial that a new vaccine works in the best possible way,” Frederiksen said.
Prime minister Frederiksen said she has “great sympathy” for the farmers to be hurt by the decision. “It is not only for the sake of protecting those who are at risk of becoming seriously ill from the mutated coronavirus,” she added, “but for the sake of Denmark, the entire world.”
Denmark reporting a record of more than 1,350 infections on Tuesday, and has recorded more than 51,000 COVID-19 infections and 729 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.