The world's largest producer of mink fur will cull all its mink after scientists discovered a mutation of coronavirus that could render any future vaccine against the virus useless.

A Danish government statement said the mutation of the virus has shown reduced sensitivity to antibodies, and could migrate to humans.

The Danish authorities expressed fears that this development presents a risk that a future vaccine will not have an effect on the mutated form of the virus.

Denmark produces 28% of the world's mink fur.

All mink in the country will be culled, including breeding animals. The government said that it will be a "serious decision" for the country's mink farmers.

The efforts to cull mink in Denmark will be partially carried out by the police and armed forces, together with the country's veterinary and food administration. Mink breeders who carry out their own culling will be compensated for doing so.

Suspected case of avian influenza

In other animal health related news, a poultry farm in Kent has had an entire flock of birds slaughtered after the flock was suspected to have low-pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu).

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said:

"Following testing at a small commercial poultry premises near Deal, Dover District in Kent, the UK government has decided to slaughter the flock on suspicion of avian influenza and declare a 1km temporary movement restriction zone for captive birds.

“These are precautionary measures and avian influenza has not been confirmed on the site.”