Denmark to Cull Millions of Minks After Mutated Coronavirus Spreads

A mutated form of the Coronavirus that could infect humans has been found in minks on farms in Denmark, according to the BBC. As a result, the country, which is the largest exporter of mink fur worldwide, plans to kill 17 million of them in an effort to curb what the government has called a dire situation that must be addressed.

“We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a news conference.

Around 207 mink farms have shown evidence of Covid-19. Government officials say 12 people have tested positive as a result. Outbreaks of the infection at local mink farms there have continued since June even though officials have already killed some animals, according to CNN.

Prime Minister Frederiksen said the infected minks would also negatively impact a Coronavirus vaccine. There is evidence the mutated virus that has been found in the minks could possibly make it difficult for people to form antibodies, which could threaten vaccines now under development.

More than 1,000 farms in Denmark will be impacted. A million of the animals in a five-mile radius of suspected farms were slaughtered last month. Some other European countries, including the Netherlands and Spain, have also discovered Coronavirus on their own mink farms. Spanish authorities killed 100,000 mink in July, and more than 10,000 were killed in the Netherlands.

Denmark will also face stronger lockdown measures in the impacted regions.