THE Government of Aragon has ordered the sacrifice of 92,700 minks as a COVID-19 preventative measure.
The decision to slaughter the animals was made on Thursday by the administrations involved.
The Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and the Environment, Joaquin Olona, explained that the General Directorate of Food Quality and Health had already proceeded to the ‘precautionary immobilisation’ of the farm in La Puebla de Valverde (Teruel), after seven of its workers tested positive for COVID-19 on May 22.
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Since then, four tests have been carried out on the minks, the last of which concluded with 86.67% of the animals testing positive.
Meanwhile another two employees have also tested positive for COVID-19.
Seeing that the infections among the animals have increased since May and it has been proven that there is ‘community transmission,’ this ‘drastic’ and ‘preventive’ measure has been taken by the company, Secapiel, together with the Government of Aragon, in order to protect public health.
The high degree of uncertainty over whether or not there has been transmission from humans to animals or vice versa, has led to this ‘dramatic decision’, authorities said.
Olona informed that the ‘patient 0’ was a person related to one employee of the farm, leading to the hypothesis that coronavirus could have been transmitted from humans to animals.
The slaughter will be carried out by the Agriculture, Livestock and the Environment department, with the support of the public company SARGA (Sociedad Aragonesa de Gestion Agroambiental)
The necessary biosecurity measures will be taken.
According to the agricultural minister, national laws will provide the compensation for the damage caused by the compulsory slaughter.