Denmark will sacrifice about 15 million weasel created in its territory because of a mutation of Covid-19 that would have infected 12 people, announced the Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Wednesday.
The mutation “may pose a risk that future vaccines (against Covid-19) may not work as intended,” explained Mette Frederiksen. “All weasels must be slaughtered,” he added, which represents between 15 and 17 million animals, according to officials.
This mutation does not aggravate the complications caused by the new coronavirus in humans, but acts on antibodies, reducing its effectiveness, which adds a problem to the development of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Danish authorities.
“Continuing to raise these weasels would pose a very high risk to public health, both in Denmark and abroad,” said Kåre Mølbak, director of the Danish Infectious Disease Control Authority (SSI).
The twelve cases of human transmission of the mutated virus were detected in the north of the Jutland peninsula (west), where most breeding sites are concentrated.
Denmark is the world’s largest exporter of weasel fur. The government has already launched a first weasel slaughter campaign this summer, after the first cases of coronavirus were detected in farmers.