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Zoetis Donates Experimental SARS-COV-2 Vaccine for Zoo Animals

08/31/2021

Zoetis will donate to zoos a considerable number of doses of an experimental vaccine authorized to protect susceptible animals from COVID. Since the emergence of COVID, felines, ursines and primates in zoos have been diagnosed with SARS-COV-2 acquired from caretakers and visitors.  The efficacy of the vaccine will be evaluated at 80 institutions in 28 states.

 

 It is anticipated that the vaccine will be extensively used to protect farmed mink.  If the response of this highly susceptible species follows the pattern in dense human populations, breakthrough infection will occur. It is possible that variant strains may emerge following vaccination as has occurred with natural infection in Holland, Denmark and Poland.  The vaccine may prevent severe clinical signs and mortality representing an acceptable outcome for pelt producers.  Creating a situation promoting the emergence of variants in a farmed animal maintained to produce an unnecessary vanity item is a questionable epidemiologic exercise, the results of which have yet to be determined. 

 

Many nations in Europe have already committed to phasing out mink as a farm animal.  Legislation is being introduced in Congress to limit production that is mainly confined to four states and benefits a fractional proportion of livestock producers.  Within five years, mink production will be a virtual monopoly of China.  If however mink are demonstrated to be reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 virus and a source of variants, authorities in China will immediately eradicate the domestic industry