One million minks will be culled in Denmark after the novel coronavirus continues to spread further in the farms where minks are raised for their prized furs.
The plan to cull the unprecedented number of animals over fears of coronavirus contagion comes shortly after almost 100,000 minks were culled in Spain for the same cause.
The Ministry of Danish Ministry of Environment and food said on Tuesday, 41 mink farms have been affected by the virus so far, with another 20 farms thought to be affected.
Minks in the sixty-one farms total to nearly 1 million and they await culling according to Reuters. Denmark is the world’s leading breeder and producer of minks and fur.
The minks will be reportedly culled carried out in non-affected farms that are located within close proximity to infected farms within 8 kilometers.
“My main focus is on ensuring, that the…mink farms do not become an infection risk for people, and therefore the government has decided to cull the mink,” Mogens Jensen, Food Minister told a press briefing.
This is not the first time COVID-19 outbreaks in mink farms come. In the past few days, thousands of minks have died in Utah farms from the novel virus, which appears to affect the species more than other animals, thanks to a special protein in their lungs that binds the virus and apparently increases the vulnerability of an infection.
But Denmark’s decision to cull nearly a million of them and even the non-affected animals is in contrast to Utah’s decision where recently many minks were found infected.
Farm workers are thought to have spread the virus to the minks, which vets believe is not a threat to humans as of now.
“We genuinely don’t feel like there is much of a risk going from the mink to the people,” said Dr. Dean Taylor, the state veterinarian, who is investigating the outbreak.
No minks have been euthanized in Utah as of now, and Dr. Taylor says it is not apparently necessary, the US News reported.
To date, only two-three probable cases of mink-to-human COVID-19 transmission are recorded according to the International Society for Infectious Disease. And lack of PPE while handling the animals is thought to be the cause of contracting the infection.
At this moment chances of contracting the virus from minks are negligible as compared to chances of contracting the virus from an infected human, Nature reports.
Only a dozen of animals are at risk of contracting the virus, with minks so far showing the highest vulnerability. As per the US Department of agriculture, so far, as of Sep. 2, only 50 animals have tested positive for the virus in the US, which includes pet dogs, cats and tigers, and lions in zoos.
May researchers have pointed out pandemics like the COVID-19 could bother humanity more in the future until intensive farming practices are not done away with, or at least regulated.
The cramped and unpleasant conditions where too many animals are forced to inhabit create a cozy zone for viruses to breed and transmit and increase the chances of humans from contracting it.