Sweden bans mink breeding in 2021 in fight against coronavirus pandemic

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Labeled mink pelts are seen in storage at Kopenhagen Fur in Glostrup

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will ban breeding of mink in 2021 to prevent the risk of mutations of the coronavirus spreading to humans, the government said on Wednesday.

Neighbour Denmark, one of the world's biggest producers of fur for the fashion industry, slaughtered its entire herd of around 17 million mink in November after hundreds of farms suffered outbreaks of coronavirus and authorities found mutated strains of the virus among people.

Sweden recorded coronavirus cases at several mink farms, although authorities said in December the animals had not been found to carry the mutated strain as evident in Denmark.

"In Sweden, the mutated virus has, luckily, not got into our mink farms," Financial Markets Minister Per Bolund told reporters at a news conference. "But our mink industry remains a further risk factor that we need to consider when it comes to the fight against corona."

Denmark has also banned mink breeding until 2022.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; editing by Johannes Hellstrom)