Denmark will slaughter more than 15 million minks raised especially for their fur.
The move was taken to prevent a mutated version of the new coronavirus from spreading to humans, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced on Wednesday.
The country’s Institute of Infectious Diseases said there were already 12 cases of these mutations in humans recorded in the North Jutland region. The virus has been detected in more than 200 mink farms in Denmark.
The COVID virus mutated via mink carries the risk that the next vaccine will not work as it should, Frederiksen told a virtual press conference.
She said Denmark has a responsibility to prevent a mutated coronavirus from spreading to other countries, and that continuing to raise minks during the pandemic “carries a significant risk to public health”
In Denmark, more than 16 million minks furs are produced each year by around 1,500 farmers. Frederiksen apologized to the farmers for the loss of their livelihood.
The Netherlands and Spain have also recorded outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms.