Denmark Is Killing All Of Its 17 Million Mink Due To Coronavirus Mutation Risk

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 05 Nov 2020 13:37
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Seventeen million mink are being killed in Denmark after coronavirus outbreaks have occurred in mink farms.

It was found that the virus found in minks had the possibility to spread to humans.


According to the country’s health officials, the animals show reduced sensitivity to COVID antibodies meaning if someone was to get contract the virus via the animal that vaccinations may not be as effective.

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The prime minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen said, as per Reuters, ‘The mutated virus in mink may pose a risk to the effectiveness of a future vaccine.’

Frederiksen continued:


The mutated virus – via mink – can carry the risk that the upcoming vaccine will not work as it should.

We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well.

The country’s health minister reported that around 50% of 783 infected people in Northern Denmark, where many mink farms are based, had been infected from the virus due to connections with the farms.

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Authorities have reportedly registered five cases of the new strain of COVID on mink farms and 12 cases in humans


Denmark is the world’s largest producer of mink skins – around 15 to 17 million of the animals can be found there according its 1200 farms.

Despite the prime minister’s concerns, Francois Balloux, the director of the University College London Genetics Institute and a professor of computational systems biology, explained there are many strains of COVID constantly being found.

He explained:


There are thousands of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 arising constantly. The fact that a few have been observed in minks will not change the strains in circulation in humans. If they were beneficial for the virus to infect its human host, they would be at high frequency already.

Professor Balloux continued, ‘Vaccine-escape mutations may (or not) arise in humans in the future, if they are advantageous to the virus for (once vaccines will be deployed). They definitely won’t be fuelled by mutations having emerged in minks.’

He added that most carnivores are susceptible to the virus, including domestic cats and dogs.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, Coronavirus, Denmark, News, Now, World News


  1. Reuters

    Denmark to cull entire mink herd amid mutation fears for coronavirus vaccine