Coronavirus: Ireland plans mink cull

Elias Hubbard
November 21, 2020

There are 1,139 mink farms in Denmark, employing about 6,000 people.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan recommended that animals at Vasa and Ireland's two other mink farms be culled "as a matter of urgency". Testing of the mink herd in Ireland detected no positive results to Covid-19 to date.

The mass cull was ordered after it was discovered that a mutated version of the coronavirus found among minks in Danish farms can be transmitted to people, though there is no evidence so far that it is more unsafe or resistant to vaccines.

The remaining mink farms in Ireland, home to around 120,000 mink, are located in Donegal, Laois and Kerry.

The culling was ordered after a mutated version of the coronavirus was found in some farms and had infected people.

The Irish mink farms - some of which received government grants as recently as 2017 to support rural employment - earn €25 to €80 per pelt.

Though COVID-19 is a reportable disease in OR, this rule doesn't apply to fur producers since they can't legally diagnose diseases. Research from a Danish public health body, the Statens Serum Institut, had suggested that C5 might hinder the effectiveness of a vaccine against COVID-19.

They wrote, "We do not wish to spread alarm; however, we are deeply concerned that these facilities could, knowingly or unknowingly, be contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in the state, or could even house or come to house new mutations of COVID-19, like the one discovered in Denmark".

"I regretted this earlier, I regret it again and take responsibility for this, especially I regret this to the many mink farmers who have been in a very unhappy situation", adding that "There has only been one objective: to stop the Covid-19 infection in and from mink because it poses a threat to public health".

RTE reported that, while there are no immediate plans to carry out the proposed cull, government officials in the Department of Agriculture have already informed some farm owners that it will happen. The unsafe coronavirus variant has been found on fur farms in the US, Sweden, Italy and Spain.

The PM has defended the decision to cull the country's mink, saying it was based on the assessment of health authorities.

Sweden's health agency said Thursday that a number of people working in the mink industry there had tested positive for the coronavirus, and it was working to analyze any connection between infected minks and infected people.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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