Denmark is to cull upwards of 17 million mink in their efforts to prevent the spread of a mutation of the coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that the implications of this new variant are not fully understood but preliminary findings indicate that it displays a decreased sensitivity to antibodies.
This in turn may have a negative impact on any vaccine programme rolled out in response to Covid-19.
Minks became infected with coronavirus due to contact with humans. The disease was then transmitted amongst the mink population and back again to the human population.
“As viruses move between human and animal populations, genetic modifications in the virus can occur,” stated WHO.
“Such genetic modifications can be detected by the laboratory technique of genome sequencing.”
According to The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) there are three mink farms across Ireland and it breeds and kills 150,000 mink a year and it’s used for the fur industry.
Barry Nolan, a wildlife management expert, told Limerick Voice that mink are traditionally farmed for their fur but there are currently no fur farms in Co. Limerick and the wild mink is widely distributed all over the Irish countryside.
The wild mink is a solitary animal and an invasive species and is unlikely to come into contact with humans.
“Fur farming takes place where there are thousands of minks together in a small area and this is where difficulties may arise,” Mr Nolan said.
“The main problem is where there’s a lot of mink together,” Mr. Nolan added.