The Scandinavian country confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus in a mink in October 2020 and during the autumn the virus was confirmed at 13 out of the some 30 mink farms around the country.
Sweden's National Veterinary Institute said evidence from Denmark and the Netherlands showed that it was difficult to stop the introduction of the virus to mink populations while it was still spreading in the community, even when safety measures were applied.
“Under the present conditions we consider it inappropriate from an infection control perspective to increase the number of minks in the country,” Ann Lindberg, director of Sweden's National Veterinary Institute, said in a statement on Wednesday.
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Unlike neighbouring Denmark, Sweden did not order a cull of the animals and instead just banned the breeding of new litters in the spring.
Farmers can therefore keep their breeding animals in order to resume operations in 2022, though if any pups are born accidentally they will need to be put down, the Swedish Board of Agriculture said in a statement.
Rural Affairs Minister Jennie Nilsson noted that Sweden has a “relatively small fur business”.
Last year, around 550,000 minks were put down in Sweden for their fur and some 90,000 were kept for breeding.
In Denmark, previously the world's largest exporter of mink fur, a nationwide cull of all of the country's around 15 million minks was ordered in November after some were found to be carrying a mutated virus variant.
However, the killing of minks on farms not infected by the virus was later found to have no legal basis, leading to the resignation of Denmark's agriculture minister.
“In Sweden, luckily we haven't got the mutated variant at our mink farms… But our mink industry still presents another risk factor to consider in the fight against the coronavirus,” Sweden's Minister for Financial Markets Per Bolund told a press conference.