Chilling photos of Denmark’s operation to kill millions of mink that could potentially have a mutation of Covid-19 have emerged.
The country has ordered the cull of around 17 million mink after it found the animals had spread new coronavirus strain, Cluster 5, to humans.
Mink have infected over 13 people in northern Denmark, and officials have moved to eradicate the strain before it spirals out of control.
Pictures of mass graves for the infected species have now emerged, with dead animals arriving and being dumped in pits by the truckload.
So far, it is understood two million of the animals have been killed and buried at a military site in Holstebro, north-west Denmark.
The animals have been rounded up from more than 1,100 farms, and are then transported from a box to a cage.
According to reports, the cages contain a gas which kills the animals in around 10 to 15 seconds.
Sadly, any of the minks that survive the gassing process are then burnt alive, before being transferred to the pit where they’re buried.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the mutant strain could pose a “‘risk to the effectiveness” of a future Covid-19 vaccine.
Adding: “We have a great responsibility towards our own population… but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well.”
Britain has now closed the border with Denmark as Government officials work to track recent arrivals as a matter of urgency.
Any arrivals will be told to self-isolate, and Matt Hancock, the UK’s health secretary, said there should be an “international discussion” over the future of the mink farming industry.
Speaking to Parliament during a Covid-19 update, Mr Hancock said: “I think 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 but people will have their own views on animal welfare grounds and I have certainly got mine.
“But clearly on global public health grounds, there is a case to do everything we can to stop the retransmission of this virus into an animal population and then back again which can lead to these sorts of mutations that we have seen.”