Denmark has started a campaign to slaughter hundreds of thousands of mink due to the COVID-19 epidemic in many farms, the result of a government compensation plan closed on Wednesday.
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The world’s leading exporter of mink skins for the fur market, the Scandinavian kingdom has been facing cases of coronavirus since June in many farms, mainly in the north of the Jutland region, the mainland of Denmark in the west from the country.
In total, mink from 150 farms will be slaughtered in an operation that will take several months, the Danish veterinary authority announced in a statement. That is to say a total of more than a million and a half fur animals, according to figures cited by the Danish press.
Several slaughterings took place Thursday and Friday, at least one of which required the intervention of the police in the face of the farmer’s refusal to let the authorities enter. Further slaughterings are underway on Saturday, local media report.
In Gjol (north-west), around thirty people came to show their support for a breeder, with signs “Stop the slaughter of healthy animals”, reports the newspaper Ekstra Bladet.
Positive cases have already been recorded in nearly sixty farms, and suspected cases in about fifty others, according to the veterinary authority, Fodevarestyrelsen, which is mobilizing 200 people for the campaign.
All farms with positive cases of coronavirus will be euthanized, as well as those located within 7.8 kilometers of a contaminated farm, according to the government plan.
Compensation of around 175 Danish kroner (a little less than 25 euros) is provided for each animal, whether the farm is contaminated or not.
As early as July, the authority had imposed on breeders the wearing of protection to avoid contamination from animals to humans, with regular tests on dead animals. Several suspected cases of transmission from mink to humans have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, particularly in the Netherlands.
With more than 17 million mink slaughtered in 2018, more than half of European production and more than a quarter of world production, Denmark is the world’s largest exporter and second-largest producer of mink skins behind China (more 20 million) and ahead of Poland (around 5 million), according to the animal protection NGO Humane Society, which campaigns for the ban of this controversial sector.