All mink in Denmark are to be culled, because of concerns that the animals are spreading a mutated form of coronavirus, the country’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says.
Frederiksen revealed that the Statens Serum Institut found five examples in mink farms and 12 examples in humans that showed reduced sensitivity to antibodies.
"The virus has mutated in mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans," Frederiksen said. "In other words: The mutated virus -- via mink -- can carry the risk that the upcoming vaccine will not work as it should,"
"It is necessary to kill all mink in Denmark. This also applies to breeding animals," she said.
"It is… a decision the government is making with a heavy heart," the Prime Minister said. "But, given the clear recommendation of the health authorities, it is the necessary decision."
Frederiksen added that new restrictions will need to be introduced in certain areas to contain the spread of the mutated virus.
“Unfortunately, the residents of those municipalities have to prepare for further restrictions in the near future,” she said.
The decision was hailed by animal rights groups, who have long opposed the use of mink for fur.
"Although not a ban on fur farming, this move signals the end of suffering for millions of animals confined to small wire cages on Danish fur farms solely for the purposes of a trivial fur fashion that no-one needs," Joanna Swabe, the international senior director of public affairs for the Humane Society, said in a statement.
"We commend the Danish Prime Minister on her decision to take such an essential and science-led step to protect Danish citizens from the deadly coronavirus."