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B.C. mink farmer decides to destroy 1,000 animals after positive COVID-19 tests

Last Updated Jan 5, 2021 at 12:18 pm PST

FILE - In this file photo dated Friday Nov. 6, 2020, mink look out from a pen on a farm near Naestved, Denmark. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has appointed Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, a new agriculture minister, after Mogens Jensen resigned after the government ordered the culling of all Danish mink because of the coronavirus, but without having the necessary legislation in place first.(Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s chief veterinarian says a mink farmer decided to euthanize the remaining 1,000 animals on his Fraser Valley operation after some of the mink tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Rayna Gunvaldsen says the operator was not ordered by the provincial government to euthanize the animals as more tests are underway to determine the extent of the presence of COVID-19.

The first farm where the virus spread to mink also had eight workers who tested positive and Gunvaldsen says both farms remain under quarantine.

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She says there are no other reports of COVID-19 at B.C.’s eight other mink farms.

Alan Herscovici, a spokesman for the Canada Mink Breeders Association, says imposing strict quarantine and biosecurity measures at mink farms for about two weeks appears to limit the spread of COVID-19 to other animals.

After COVID-19 was diagnosed on the first farm, the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals called for a moratorium on mink farming in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press