Denmark Withdraws Order to Cull Minks Amid Virus Outbreak

Denmark Withdraws Order to Cull Minks Amid Virus Outbreak

The government of Denmark has withdrawn an order to cull the entire mink population after realizing it had zero authority to order the killing on farms not affected by the coronavirus disease.

According to a report by CNN quoting a statement sent to breeders on Tuesday, the government has instead “recommended” that farmers kill all mink.

Denmark was still pursuing the killing of all minks but that it needed to pass a new bill into law in order to allow it to legally order the cull.

Mass culling of mink had already been taking place since the government ordered on October 1 the cull of “all infected mink herds and herds within a radius of 7.8 kilometers” over concerns about a virus mutation that had arisen in infected minks. At least 17 million minks have been killed since the order.

The virus has been found on more than 200 mink farms and 12 humans were found to have the mutated form of the virus.

The order did not appear to be in jeopardy as farmers have been carrying out mass culls for weeks, but some questioned the science behind the decision as mutations in coronavirus are normal, thus making it unclear whether the mutation was significant.

“There are huge doubts relating to whether the planned cull was based on an adequate scientific basis,” Liberal opposition leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen was quoted as saying in an interview with broadcasting network TV2.

For its part, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said that mutation may have implications for immunity, reinfections, and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

It said, however, that there was a high uncertainty over this.

Some areas in the United States have likewise monitored the situation in Denmark as 15,000 minks have already died from the virus.

The states of Utah, Michigan, and Wisconsin have said that they were monitoring the situation and that dozens of farms were ordered to undergo quarantine.

“We believe that quarantining affected mink farms in addition to implementing stringent biosecurity measures will succeed in controlling SARS-CoV-2 at these locations,” the US Department of Agriculture was quoted as saying in a report by Reuters on Tuesday and was picked up by Al Jazeera.

Photo from Flickr

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