Greece has started killing 2,500 minks that have caught a mutant strain of coronavirus as Danish farmers demand an end to the killing of 17 million.
Mink culling in Europe comes after a mutant strain of coronavirus was discovered in animals in Denmark, which scientists fear could return to humans and make vaccines less effective.
In northern Greece, the cull started after that after some of the animals tested positive for the coronavirus on a farm near the village of Kaloneri.
Greek officials said the mink had not mutated there.
An aerial photo taken by a drone shows an earthmoving machine powered by a veterinary service employee of Western Macedonia burying euthanized mink in a large hole
Greece has begun killing 2,500 minks found to be infected with a mutated strain of the coronavirus that scientists fear vaccines may affect its effectiveness in humans
In Northern Greece there are more than 80 farms with more than 1.3 million mink. So far there has been no indication that Greece will kill its entire mink population
The animals are killed on a farm near the village of Kaloneri in the municipality of Voios Kozani in northern Greece (picture).
Athanassios Langas, of the Greek fur breeders association, said Friday that the animals were tested after it was found that the farm's owners were infected with the virus. About 300 breeders have been tested for the coronavirus, 10 of which were positive, he said.
In Northern Greece there are more than 80 farms with more than 1.3 million mink. So far there has been no indication that Greece will kill its entire mink population.
Meanwhile, Danish farmers have called for an end to a culling of 17 million mink due to a coronavirus outbreak after no new cases of people infected with the mutant were recorded.
A large group of farmers took to the streets with their tractors to take part in the demonstration against the culling that threatens the mink industry.
The protest comes after Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said Friday that Denmark has not registered any new examples of people infected with what is known as a mutated Cluster 5 coronavirus strain made from mink.
Denmark ordered the culling of millions of mink last week after the mutant virus that infected 12 people in August and September was found to be less sensitive to antibodies, potentially affecting the effectiveness of future vaccines.
The coronavirus continues to evolve during replication, but to date none of the identified mutations have changed anything in the transmissibility or lethality of COVID-19.
Large numbers of farmers took to the streets with their tractors to protest Denmark's mass destruction of mink after it was discovered that a mutated strain of the coronavirus was able to jump from animals to humans. Pictured: The farmer who led the line had a sign on the front of his vehicle that read: "The one giving the order – garbage"
Denmark ordered the culling of millions of mink last week after finding the mutated virus infected 12 people in August and September
Pictures from the protest showed a long line of tractors as far as the eye can see driving down a street in Aalborg, northwest Denmark.
The farmer who led the line had posted a sign on the front of his vehicle that read, "The one giving the order – garbage".
Those opposed to the mink culling argue that it is unconstitutional and have also demonstrated against subsequent restrictions in seven communities in Northern Jutland for more than 280,000 people after the tribe was discovered.
The country's State Serum Institute (SSI), which deals with infectious diseases, said random checks between October 12 and October 25 showed no new cases of cluster-5 in humans.
The institute started genome sequencing of all positive coronavirus results registered in northern Denmark, where most of the infected mink farms are located, to check for the mutation last week. More comprehensive results from these tests should be available next week, the SSI said.
Once the mink culling is over, 17 million animals will have been killed and buried in mass graves to stop the mutated virus from spreading further
According to the industry, there are 1,139 mink farms in Denmark, employing around 6,000 people. However, the industry is at risk as the animals are being killed
Heunicke also said that lockdown restrictions in northern Denmark would be relaxed so that locals could cross community lines and reopen public transport.
On Thursday it was announced that the cooperative, which sells almost half of Danish mink skins, will "gradually downsize" and close over the next 2-3 years.
Jesper Lauge, CEO of Copenhagen Fur, said Thursday that the discovery of coronavirus infections has "put the Danish mink industry in an extreme and unusually difficult position".
Copenhagen Fur employs around 300 people and sells the furs of the farms in its cooperative. According to the industry, there are 1,139 mink farms in Denmark, employing around 6,000 people.
It was unclear how many of the farms would be closed, although their prospects are not good. In the picture: people stand on the street to support the farmers
The Danish farms together account for 40% of the world's mink fur production and are the world's largest exporter. Most of the cooperative's exports go to China and Hong Kong
It was unclear how many of the farms would be closed, although their prospects are not good.
The Danish farms together account for 40% of the world's mink fur production and are the world's largest exporter.
Most of the cooperative's exports go to China and Hong Kong, and it claims to be the world's largest fur auction house. These auctions will continue.
On Thursday, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control issued new guidelines to help curb the spread of the coronavirus between mink and humans, warning that the transmission of COVID-19 among animals could accelerate the number of mutations in the virus before it possibly jumps back to the people.
The agency said the spread within mink could have worrying consequences.
Danes who live near mink graves in Denmark have complained about the smell – when trucks spilled the bodies of the killed animals onto streets in horrific scenes. Pictured: Farmers load trays of dead mink into a truck to be disposed of
Pictured: An excavator loads dead mink into a ditch as members of the Danish health authorities, supported by members of the Danish Armed Forces, dispose of the animals on November 9th in a military area near Holstebro, Denmark
Pictured: Minks are killed and skinned on a mink farm near Naestved, South Africa
Danes who live near mink graves in Denmark have complained about the smell – when trucks spilled the bodies of the killed animals onto streets in horrific scenes.
Police and paramedics were forced this week to warn of the smell of mass graves in Holstebro and Karup, where trenches have been dug to deal with the bodies of millions of animals killed amid fears of the coronavirus.
They had to deny that the smell was dangerous to health, but warned residents and the use of sidewalks that it would make itself felt.
Meanwhile, thousands of dead animals were found on a 12-mile road that had fallen from a truck on the way to the funeral.
Dead mink was dumped across a 12-mile stretch of the Danish motorway on Tuesday after a truck carrying the killed animals spilled its cargo
Meanwhile, following complaints, police and paramedics had to issue a statement about the smell of mass graves saying it was not harmful to health
It comes after more animals were found along a highway on Saturday. A truck driver was accused of failing to secure his cargo.
A dispute erupted in parliament over whether ministers even had legal authority to order the cull – an order they issued last week after it was discovered the animals had passed a mutated strain of coronavirus to humans.
Food Minister Mogens Jensen had to admit earlier this week that he was not empowered to order the destruction of all mink, including healthy animals.
& # 39; We made a mistake. There is no legal authority to ask mink breeders to slaughter their mink outside the infection zones, ”he told the TV2 network on Tuesday.
But millions of animals had already been killed – something the farmers did after they were offered a subsidy to ensure the mink was killed quickly.
Some – whose farms are hundreds of miles from infected sites – have now stopped the cull while others have vowed to continue, the FT reports.
Ministers had ordered the cull after the coronavirus, which had spread to farm workers, leaped species and infected the minks.
After it got inside their bodies, it mutated and then spread back to humans – with at least 12 infections from the new virus discovered in the country.
Denmark ordered farmers to kill their entire mink population – 17 million animals – after the mammals captured the coronavirus, mutated it and returned it to humans
Although millions of animals have already been killed, Danish ministers have had to admit that they may not have the legal authority to order the cull
While the new virus is neither more contagious nor deadly than the current strain that is spreading among humans, there have been concerns that it could render the vaccines currently being developed unusable – because they are not designed to work against it.
To avoid the risk of billions of dollars' worth of vaccine research being invalidated, Denmark ordered the cull and destroyed 40 percent of the world's mink fur supply.
Questions are now being asked whether the industry, which many activists see as cruel, can ever restart.
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