A new Covid-19 scare has sparked calls for the culling of mink to speed up the end of fur farming in Ireland.
Testing is reportedly underway at Ireland’s three mink farms – including one outside Glenties – after a variant of Covid-19 was discovered in mink farms in other countries.
Denmark, the world’s largest mink producer, launched a widespread cull of minks last week after humans became infected with a new strain of Covid-19 that had infected the animals. The mutations sparked concern among scientists because of their potential to make vaccines less effective.
The Department of Agriculture in Ireland is said to be in contact with the Irish mink farms in Donegal, Cork and Laois to offer advice on biosecurity. A testing regime is beginning, while no Covid cases have been linked with Irish farms to date.
Dr Mark d’Alton of Veterinary Ireland told the Irish Times that recent events could be used to begin a humane culling of all mink in the country’s farms.
The government last year agreed to the phasing out of fur farming in Ireland, citing evidence that it is “counter to good animal welfare”.
Dr d’Alton said he believed a culling would be the correct decision, as Veterinary Ireland “would be urging that on the precautionary principle, and bearing in mind that fur farming is going to be phased out anyway . . . that they should be humanely killed and the whole process expedited. That would be wise.”