Denmark says mutated coronavirus from mink farms `most likely eradicated`

Ireland signals likely end to fur farming with cull of 120,000 mink

The Department of Agriculture previously said it had maintained contact with Irish mink farms and while a testing regime was to be implemented, no Covid cases had yet been identified.

In a letter to the Department this week, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan advised the farmed mink population be culled as their presence is "an ongoing risk to public health".

There are around 100,000 minks in three farms across the country in Laois, Donegal and Kerry.

On Wednesday, Danish Minister for Food and Agriculture Mogens Jensen resigned as the government declared the culling of all farmed mink across the country illegal since it had only been allowed in affected areas.

11 licensed mink farms now reside in OR, with eight in Marion County, though four now do not have any animals, and the others are located in Linn, Clackamas and Clatsop counties.

The cull has sparked a political crisis after the government admitted it lacked a legal basis.

"I enjoyed this before, I repent it and accept accountability for this, particularly I repent this to the numerous mink farmers who've been in a really unhappy situation".

The actions in both countries follow Denmark's on-going cull of 15 to 17 million minks in order to halt the spread of a suspected mutant strain.

However, some mink farms may still remain infected with Covid-19 beyond the cluster 5 mutation.

There is already a commitment in the Programme for Government to phase out mink farming in Ireland.

The Danish health ministry said in a press release Thursday that no further cases of the C5 variant have been detected since September 15, and that this variant is now thought to be extinct. A decision taken after the discovery of a mutated version of Covid-19 transmitted by minks to 12 Danes.

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture said Mink farmers have operated in "full compliance with all legislative and animal welfare requirements" and cooperated fully with efforts to address COVID-19 risks.

Cantu-Schomus also assured that there have been no deaths reported for mink in OR yet. Farmers will be compensated for the initial cull but it's understood that the farms will not reopen afterwards.

Mink, similar to ferrets, cats and dogs, are more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, posing a risk they could mutate the virus and return a variant to humans.

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