Danish Agriculture Minister Resigns Amid Criticism For Ordering Mink Cull

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 22, 2020

Although millions of the animals have already been destroyed in Denmark, due to an outcry from mink farmers and others involved in the industry, the cull has been halted.

As Ireland continues to try to flatten the Covid curve amid hopes of a vaccine reaching the market in the coming weeks, the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan wrote to the Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue in recent days recommending that the country's farmed mink be culled to minimise or eliminate this risk. This would have outlawed the continued operation of mink farms in the midlands county of Laois, in Kerry in the southwest, and Donegal in the northwest.

Known as "pelting" the process involves the minks being euthanised before their skin is removed.

The cull has sparked a political crisis after the government admitted it lacked a legal basis.

Covid-19 has been detected on 237 of the country's 1,080 mink farms so far.

The population of wild minks in Ireland is up to an estimated 33,500 according to a report by the National Parks and Wildlife Service which was compiled in 2009.

Ireland is planning a nationwide cull of mink over fears they may carry a mutated version of the coronavirus detected in the animals in Denmark, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

Since then, all minks on farms in these areas have been killed, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (FVST) said, but it noted that there are still 25 farms suspected to have unconfirmed cases of Covid-19.

The Department added that no mink have been imported into Ireland during 2020.

The Department of Agriculture in Ireland said it had worked closely with the owners of the country's three mink farms.

It said this is available to view along with specific protocols for livestock farmers regarding TB testing and the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 on the dedicated COVID hub of the Department website.

However, it is also understood that the farms will be allowed to "pelt" the remaining animals to fill outstanding orders.

Viruses such as the novel coronavirus that emerged in China late past year mutate constantly and new variants are not necessarily worse than the previous ones.

Dr. Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization's regional director for Europe, described mink farms on Thursday as "a reservoir where the coronavirus is thriving".

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