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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 23 June 2021

All minks to be culled in Ireland amid concerns about Denmark's mutated coronavirus strain

It is understood that CMO Dr Tony Holohan wrote to the Agriculture Minister recommending such a move.

Image: Shutterstock/Lynsey Grosfield

ALL MINKS IN Ireland will be culled over the coming weeks as a precautionary measure amid concerns about a coronavirus variant discovered in Danish mink farms.

It is understood that Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan wrote to Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue recommending such a move.

Mink owners will be compensated in the short-term, but they will not be able to replace the animals, it is understood. The owners will receive a wider compensation package in the future. 

Earlier this month, the government said anyone arriving from Denmark to Ireland will be asked to restrict their movements for two weeks.

There are currently three Irish mink farms, and the Department of Agriculture confirmed that no mink have been imported in 2020.

The Department of Agriculture said today that testing of the mink herd in Ireland has detected no positive results of Covid-19 to date.

It added that mink farmers continue to operate in full compliance with all legislative and animal welfare requirements and have co-operated fully with these efforts.

According to the Department of Health, the HSE was planning to carry out serial testing of all mink farm workers as well as their household contacts.

As the world’s largest producer of mink fur, Denmark has 1,080 mink farms, with Covid-19 being detected on 207 of them.

According to the World Health Organisation, on 5 November, health authorities in Denmark reported 12 cases of Covid-19 that were caused by a mink-associated strain of the novel coronavirus.

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Eight of these cases had links to mink farms, while the remaining four were from the local community.

Denmark ordered a cull of all minks on 4 November over fears that the mutated virus could threatened the effectiveness of any future human vaccine. 

On Wednesday, Denmark’s agriculture minister Mogens Jensen resigned following criticism of his handling of the mink cull ordered in the country. 

He had admitted last week that the government’s order to cull all of Denmark’s 15 to 17 million minks had no legal basis. 

With reporting by Christina Finn, Michelle Hennessy and AFP.

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