Spain is preparing to cull around 1,00,000 mink after several of them in Aragon, the north-eastern province of the country, tested positive for the COVID-19, according to the health authorities, reports BBC.
The outbreak in the province started after a farm employee's wife was tested positive back in May. Soon after her husband and six other farmworkers were also tested positive. The farmworkers suspected that they had contracted the virus from the mink that were being bred on the farm.
The mink were isolated and monitored closely. After a series of tests on July 13, it was found out that 87% of all mink on the farm had been infected. Now, the health authorities have ordered that all the 92,700 mink on the farm need to be put to rest immediately. Mink are semi-aquatic animals which are bred for their fur.
According to BBC, authorities will give financial compensation to the company on whose farm the outbreak took place. The farm is located around 200 km east of Madrid, one of the most populous cities in Spain.
Joaquin Olona, Aragon's minister of agriculture, told reporters on Thursday that the decision to cull the mink was taken "to avoid the risk of human transmission". Olona also said that it is unclear at this point whether coronavirus can be transferred from humans to animals or vice versa.
Scientists are still questioning the validity of human to animal transmission. Some studies have found that cats and dogs were infected by the virus. Thousands of mink have already been slaughtered in the Netherlands after a similar situation emerged over there. The province of Aragon is one of the major COVID-19 hotspots in Spain.
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