Culling of mink over Covid-19 fears begins after activists lose court hearing; Thousands put down
Breeding company Huub Kuijpers has begun the process of culling thousands of mink on Saturday morning after the judiciary rejected a plea from animal rights groups on Friday that the infected animals be spared. According to local media, at least 1,500 female mink, along with their three to four pups each, are set to be put down in order to try to bring Covid-19 under control after the disease broke out on the farm.
The culling in the Noord-Brabant town is the first such measure to be taken in the Netherlands, with similar action expected to be taken by at least six companies in eight locations in Gemert-Bakel, Laarbeek, Deurne, and Sint Anthonis next week after Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten mandated on Friday that infected mink be removed.
On Friday evening, a business tribunal shot down a request by Animal Rights and the Fur for Animals groups to ban the clearance of coronavirus-infected mink for the time being, adding that a motivation for the decision will follow within two weeks.
Under the supervision of an independent animal welfare committee, the mink will be gassed using carbon monoxide, local news service BD reported, with the facility expected to be cleaned and disinfected on Sunday.
Public health concerns around mink-to-human transmission of the SARS‑CoV‑2 virus have come to the fore in recent weeks after at least three farm workers were suspected to have been infected in this way.
The culling is expected to be the final nail in the coffin for the affected mink farming companies, with the breeding of the mammals set to be prohibited from 2024.