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Health News

Factbox: Some key facts about the mink industry in Europe

FILE PHOTO: Caged minks are seen amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at a mink farm in Gjoel, North Jutland, Denmark October 9, 2020. Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark, Europe’s largest exporter of mink pelts, said it will cull millions of the animals bred for their fur after COVID-19 infections were transmitted to their keepers.

Some tougher lockdown measures will be imposed in the north of the country, where most of the farming is based.

- The Netherlands, another major European Union exporter, accelerated a plan to phase out mink farming after two humans were infected with COVID-19 during the first coronavirus wave in May.

More than 100 Dutch producers, with around 800,000 mother animals, have been ordered to close three years early by March 2021, at a cost of 180 million euros to the Dutch government. The novel coronavirus has been found at 69 Dutch mink farms.

Dutch health experts are still working to determine to what extent the farms are a source of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

- Authorities in Denmark said five cases of the new virus strain had been recorded on mink farms and 12 cases in humans, believed to have caught the illness from animals.

- Spain culled 93,000 animals at a farm in the Aragon region in July after an outbreak there.

- The European Union is one of the world’s main sources of fur clothing, led by Denmark, Finland, Italy, Poland, Greece and the Netherlands. Exports are worth hundreds of millions of euros annually, according to the UN Contrade Database.

- Animal rights group Humane Society International - United Kingdom says China, Denmark and Poland are the largest mink producers globally, with 60 million killed annually for their fur.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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