• Mon. Jul 11th, 2022

The Department of Agriculture has informed the owners of three mink farms in Ireland that their mink are to be culled to halt the potential spread of a mutated form of the Covid-19.

Nov 19, 2020

The Department of Agriculture has informed the owners of three mink farms in Ireland that their mink are to be culled to halt the potential spread of a mutated form of the Covid-19.
A “variant” of the virus was detected in mink on a farm in Denmark. Public Health authorities globally are concerned that the variant form could prove more resistant to antibodies and say if the mutated virus was to spread it could severely impact on the effectiveness of vaccines.
Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has said that Ireland’s farmed mink population should be culled because of concerns about a mutated form of Covid-19 detected in a mink farm in Denmark.
In letter to the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Tony Holohan said the move would be advised as he said the presence of farmed minks presents, “an ongoing risk to public health” if the Covid variant found in Denmark was to become “the dominant strain of the virus”.
In the letter Dr Holohan references remarks by Cillian De Gascun of NPHET in which he raises the prospect that consideration be given to culling the herd because of a range of public health concerns.
The CMO tells the Department of Agriculture that all mink should be culled, “as a matter of urgency”.
Early this week the situation was outlined to the Department and RTÉ News understands that all three mink farms have been told that their animals will be culled and their operations wound down.
There is a commitment in the programme for Government to phase out mink farming in Ireland.
Six countries reported coronavirus on mink farms – WHO
However, RTÉ News understands that the farms will be allowed to pelt the remaining animals to fill outstanding orders. Pelting is when the skin of the animal is removed after it has been euthanised by the farmers. The practice is known as “harvesting” in the industry.
In Denmark a plan to cull its entire mink populations was scrapped after the industry raised concerns. The controversy has forced the resignation of the Minister for Agriculture.
Mogens Jensen resigned yesterday following criticism of his handling of the mink cull. Mr Jensen admitted last week that the government’s order to cull all of Denmark’s 15 to 17 million minks had no legal basis.
The Danish Government said it ordered the cull on 4 November over fears that the mutated virus, which can jump to humans, could threaten the effectiveness of any future human vaccine.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is also facing calls to resign over the affair. Mr Frederiksen has apologised publicly and blamed the Agriculture Ministry for the mistake.
However, a government investigation published yesterday showed that the decision to cull all mink was taken by all top ministers. It also found that prior to Mr Frederiksen giving the order on live TV on 4 November, her office was warned about legal issues with shutting down of the mink farming industry.
It is understood there are no immediate plans to carry out the proposed cull here, but officials in the Department of Agriculture have informed farm owners in Laois, Kerry and Donegal that it will happen.