Lithuanian authorities have detected the coronavirus in mink at a farm, officials said Thursday. The veterinary service said that dozens of mink will be killed, but no mass killing is planned for now. Lithuania has 86 mink farms with a total of around 1.6 million animals.
The state’s veterinary agency said that one person at the farm also tested positive for coronavirus and probably infected the mink. “The results show that a farmworker could have transmitted the virus SARS-CoV-2 to mink,” agency chief Darius Remeika said in a statement.
Minks are the only animal that has been proven both to get the new coronavirus and re-infect humans. Scientists have warned that the coronavirus in populations of farmed minks could lead to new mutations that could compromise vaccines.
Mink are kept in small wired cages, bred solely for the fur fashion industry. Breeding moms live four to five years in small cages. Moms don’t grow up with their babies because those are murdered when they are only six to seven months old for their skin.
In the wild, mink can live for ten to twelve years, running around in nature, hunting and swimming. The animals become so stressed over their unnatural life in a cage at a mink farm that many develop compulsive behaviors and hurt themselves or their cubs in frustration.
Lithuania started testing mink farms earlier this month after coronavirus cases in mink were reported in other European countries.
Denmark has already killed around two-thirds of 15 to 17 million, minks while Ireland also says it is planning a nationwide murder over similar virus-related fears. The Netherlands killed more than two million mink. There have also been positive cases at mink farms in Poland.
More on mink and COVID-19:
Ireland plans to kill 100 thousand mink over mutated coronavirus fears
Greek to kill 2500 mink after coronavirus was found in the animals
Poland is going to test mink for new coronavirus strain
Denmark to mass kill 17 million mink after finding new coronavirus strain
Animal rights organizations are trying to stop the mass killing of thousands of mink in Holland