January 21, 2022

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Denmark to cull up to 17 million minks to prevent spread of mutated coronavirus | DW News

Denmark has announced a regional shutdown affecting about 280,000 people. The new measure comes a day after the government ordered the cull of all minks bred at fur farms due to coronavirus fears.

The regional shutdown comes a day after the government ordered the cull of all minks bred at fur farms following the discovery of the mutated virus. So far, 12 people in the north have been diagnosed with the new form of the virus. Health officials said they have not displayed more serious forms of the disease. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke had said half the 783 human coronavirus cases in northern Denmark ”are related” to mink. Minister for Food Mogens Jensen said that at least 207 farms were now infected, up from 41 last month, and that the virus has spread to all of the western peninsula of Jutland. The government said that the culling of the country’s estimated 15 million minks could cost up to 5 billion kroner ($785 million; €670 million). Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s European regional director, said Denmark showed "determination and courage" in deciding to cull the mink population, given the "huge economic impact" it would have. Authorities have been calling for the culling of infected mink herds since June due to persisting outbreaks at mink farms. Denmark is the world’s largest producer of mink skins, producing an estimated 17 million furs per year and employing around 4,000 people. Last year, the Danish mink pelt industry racked up exports of around $800 million. The industry association for Danish breeders called the culling a "black day for Denmark." The government has promised to compensate farmers.

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