The government started taking measures in the summer to curb the spread of Covid-19 on mink farms, but the number of cases increased dramatically in September.
By early October, mink tests at nearly 60 farms in North Jutland alone had tested positive for Covid-19 and there were 46 more suspected cases, according to Mogens Jensen, the Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.
“We have consistently launched initiatives to manage and contain the spread of infection,” Jensen said in a statement. But she added: “In light of the recent significant increase, we must unfortunately state that it was not sufficient to prevent the further spread of infection among mink flocks in North Jutland.”
The system is sweeping. Jensen said a mink farmer located five miles from a farm or herd that has been confirmed or suspected of having Covid-19 will be culled.
“It is a difficult decision the government has taken, but we fully support it,” said Taj Pedersen, president of the Danish Mink Breeders Association.
“In recent weeks, we have all seen more and more farms affected in North Jutland, and no one has been able to explain the increase. Human health has to come first.”
The cull will be handled by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the Danish Emergency Management Agency, and the mink keepers will receive compensation for the loss of their flock along with compensation for their operational losses.
On October 9, it was reported that thousands of minks had died on fur farms in Utah and Wisconsin after the Covid-19 outbreak. The virus develops rapidly in minkes, with most of the infected mink dying the next day. It is unclear why species are exposed to the Coronavirus while other animals are unaffected.
CNN’s Sherry Mossberg and Brian Rees contributed to this report.