UK health minister advocates worldwide rethink on mink farming after Danish outbreak

·1-min read
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the House of Commons Chamber, in London
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the House of Commons Chamber, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British health minister Matt Hancock suggested on Tuesday that the international community should look again at mink farming, alluding to a ban on the industry after a new coronavirus strain spread to humans from mink in Denmark.

Hancock had earlier warned of "grave" consequences if the variant became widespread, although he said the chances of that were low. Britain has introduced a quarantine policy for arrivals from Denmark.

"There is an international case on public health grounds for addressing this question of mink farming which we banned in the UK two decades ago. It was due to come to an end in Europe in 2023, anyway," he told parliament.

"Clearly on global public health grounds, there is a case to do everything we can to stop the re-transmission of this virus into an animal population and then back again, which can lead to these sorts of mutations that we've seen."

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)