July 16, 2020 / 1:57 PM / 19 days ago

Spain to cull 93,000 mink at a farm hit by coronavirus

MADRID, July 16 (Reuters) - Health authorities have ordered the culling of all 93,000 mink at a farm in eastern Spain to prevent human contagion after discovering that most of the animals there had been infected with the coronavirus.

The farm in the village of La Puebla de Valverde in the region of Aragon, 200 km (125 miles) east of Madrid, came to the attention of the authorities after the wife of one of its workers tested positive in May.

Joaquin Olona, head of the Aragon agriculture department, told reporters on Thursday that seven farm workers had subsequently tested positive, including the woman’s husband.

Authorities initially ordered that the animals should be isolated. But a few weeks later, after several rounds of testing, they decided to cull the mink, which are farmed for their fur. As many as 80% of a sample of the animals tested positive.

The management of Secapiel, the company that runs the region’s only mink farm, was not immediately available for comment. The company will receive financial compensation for the culling, authorities said.

The virus has proven contagious in several types of mammals including cats and dogs.

Cases of mink with coronavirus were identified in Denmark, the world’s largest producer, and the Netherlands and, even though the animals did not show any symptoms, hundreds of thousands were culled to prevent farmers becoming infected. (Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Giles Elgood)

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