Not the Minks! 17 Million Are About to be Killed Because of Covid.
Denmark is defending its decision to kill millions of minks out of fears of a mutated coronavirus strain.
Over 50 million mink a year are bred for their fur. Leaders include China, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Poland. There have been Covid-19 outbreaks in fur farms in the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, and Sweden. In the USA, almost 10,000 minks at nine fur farms in Utah have died of Covid-19. A quarantine of the affected farms followed.
Today we’ll look at an unfolding tragedy that results from the intersection of the Covid-19 virus and minks. Minks and their close relatives, ferrets, can get coronavirus. Like their human counterparts, these animals can exhibit a range of symptoms: Some have no symptoms, while others have severe problems (such as pneumonia). Of approximately 300 mink farms in Denmark, 216 have experienced Covid-19 outbreaks.
After finding a mutated coronavirus strain, Danish leaders announced strict new lockdown measures in its morning counties (the location of most mink farms). Thus far, twelve individuals are known to have the infection, but the number will likely rise. Here is what Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod volunteered during a press conference:
“All [17 million] remaining mink will now be culled, including non-infected and otherwise healthy mink.” [The killing] should reduce the risk of human contagion with mutated coronavirus, which may be more resistant to future vaccines.
The World Health Organization has been monitoring the situation but does not have enough data to know if humans have a significant risk. Thus far, the WHO has no evidence that the mink-associated variant behaves differently from the COVID-19 virus that has caused the current pandemic.
How do mink become infected? Through contact with humans. The reverse can also occur: Genetic analysis demonstrates that a small number of cases involve coronavirus passing from mink to human. Some scientists think all mink production should stop, especially given a mutated virus may not respond to any vaccine we have available.
I’m Dr. Michael Hunter. Thank you for joining me today.