Mink farms a continuing Covid risk to humans and wildlife, warn EU experts

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Health experts call for regular testing of staff and animals after coronavirus found at 400 breeding units across Europe

All mink farms are at risk of becoming infected with Covid-19 and spreading the virus, and staff and animals should be regularly tested, EU disease and food safety experts said on Thursday.

Mink are highly susceptible to coronavirus, which spreads rapidly in intensive farms that often breed thousands of animals in open housing caged systems (outdoor wire cages covered with a roof). Humans are the most likely initial source of infection.

Denmark, the world’s largest exporter of mink fur, announced that it would cull up to 15 million mink in November, after discovering a mutated variant of the virus that scientists feared might have jeopardised the effectiveness of future vaccines.

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