Mink at coronavirus infected farms to be culled: report

All the mink on Dutch mink farms infected with the coronavirus will be culled in the interest of public health, sources in The Hague said to RTL Nieuws. This involves thousands of animals from six companies with a total of eight locations in Gemert-Bakel, Laarbeek, Deurne, and Sint Anthonis, the broadcaster reported.

The cabinet will publish a letter about this later on Wednesday. The expectation is that the mink will be culled shortly after the decision is officially announced. They will be gassed in installations already on the farms - the animals are normally gassed before they are stripped of their fur, according to the broadcaster.

Last week experts said in a parliamentary briefing that the infected farms could pose a risk to public health. Especially if the coronavirus is in decline among the population, a reservoir in mink farms could be a real problem. There have been at least two Netherlands cases of a mink farm worker getting the coronavirus from a mink, which then could have been passed on to others.

All mink farms are currently being investigated for the coronavirus and possible animal-to-human transmission. Strict safety measures apply at all infected companies. 

Mink farms will be banned in the Netherlands from 2024, according to a decision made in 2013. The breeders will not be compensated for the animals that are culled, RTL Nieuws reported.