Poland is going to test mink for new coronavirus strain

Black mink babies in a cage
Mink babies at a fur farm cuddle the body of their dead mother, photo: Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash

Poland will do coronavirus tests at their mink farm factories after a mutation of the coronavirus was found in mink in Denmark. They will also check whether farmworkers and their families have been infected with the virus.

Last week, Danish authorities announced that they would kill their entire population of 17 million mink, because the new strain could move to humans and hinder the effectiveness of future COVID-19 vaccines.

Veterinary authorities are going to test mink in various parts of Poland. “It is hard to believe that the problem does not come up in Poland sooner or later. Or it already exists, but we do not know about it,” Pawel Rawicki from the animal welfare organization Otwarte Klatki (Open cages) said.

Poland’s mink population is roughly half the size of the Danish one. Mink are beautiful animals that have a great need for hunting, swimming, and diving in water. In the mink industry, the animals are born in a small cage where they remain until they are killed for their skin. Their fur is used in the fashion industry.

“The current pandemic has made it clear that we have to take the danger of transmitting this disease very seriously. Transmission of the disease is of danger not only to the local farms but to the whole world,” Esben Sloth, head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection Denmark, said about the situation with mink in Denmark.

“COVID-19 probably derived from a wet market in Wuhan in China. Now we are at risk that the coronavirus might mutate on Danish mink farms. This clearly indicates that we must reconsider the way we interact with animals,” he continued.  

China, Denmark and Poland are the largest mink producers globally, with 60 million animals killed every year for their skin, animal rights group Humane Society International – United Kingdom says.

“China, Denmark, and Poland should support and extend the immediate and complete ban of mink production,” Christian Sonne, professor of Veterinary and Wildlife Medicine at Aarhus University, said in an email to Reuters.

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