Coronavirus: Denmark's agriculture minister resigns over Prohibited Sequence to cull mink

Pablo Tucker
November 22, 2020

19, that environmental groups are concerned after COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported in farmed mink in the US and reports of a mutant coronavirus strain have been spreading from mink to humans in Denmark.

Public health authorities globally are concerned that the variant form could prove more resistant to antibodies and say if the mutated virus was to spread it could severely impact on the effectiveness of vaccines.

The cull comes amid concern that a mutation of the virus could affect the rollout and efficacy of a Covid-19 vaccine. "I would also mention that minks escape regularly, so you don't want that risk of infecting the wild animal population, either".

A new, mutated strain of the coronavirus stemming from mink farms in Denmark is "most likely" extinct, Denmark's Ministry of Health said on Thursday, citing an assessment from the State Serum Institute, which deals with infectious diseases.

"CDC guidelines recommend against testing unless there are consistent symptoms on a mink farm with a potential history of exposure", Cantu-Schomus told The Statesman Journal.

"Mink farmers continue to operate in full compliance with all legislative and animal welfare requirements and have co-operated fully with these efforts".

Almost 300 people were found with variants of coronavirus containing mink-related mutations. In late October, this proportion fell from 6% to 5%, it said. It said all farms would be permitted to "harvest" fur from the animals when they are culled in coming weeks.

Amid the escalating row, Food and Agriculture Minister resigned on Wednesday.

Opposition parties in Denmark are calling for Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to step down too, saying she was ultimately responsible.

As Denmark's mink crisis, sometimes referred to as "minkgate", rages on, a new mink cull in the Republic of Ireland has begun.

Many Irish people might be surprised to learn that mink fur farms exist in Ireland at all.

That same day, Sweden's health agency said some people who work on mink farms had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The statement said: "While the Irish government is leaning on the recent Danish decision to cull all animals on these farms, it neglects to mention that the Danish decision was based on a rapid increase in the number of infected mink farms".

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