“We were going to meet on Thursday anyway. It is still unclear how we come together in practical terms, due to the corona crisis. I think it is a good idea that discussing preventive measures is placed on the agenda as an urgent problem. This is in the interest of the involved mink farmer and local residents, ”says Hoevenaars.
Alarm bells rang
The infection with the virus, which can cause COVID-19, was released last weekend. The alarm bells immediately rang at Hoevenaars. He is very committed to this matter not only as a councilor, but also as a retired general practitioner. The consequences of intensive livestock farming, where risks can arise for humans and animals, have been keeping him busy for decades.
Pointing to bird flu, Q fever and swine fever, Hoeveneraars says there is no time to waste. “We have to start moving proactively, even before the data from the investigations arrive. That may take several weeks, but you shouldn’t want to wait for that. Together with national politics, the GGD and the Ministry of Agriculture, we must come up with a solid plan. ”
He suggests that employees of mink farmers who may be infected be tested immediately. This could also apply to people who live near these companies and who may have the virus among its members. Furthermore, it should be examined whether the environment in which air samples are taken, among other things, is set up sufficiently spacious, says Hoevenaars. He also wants to know when the Mayor and Aldermen have been notified of the infection.
Vet Haiko Koenen will be happy with an energetic approach. He is affiliated with Veterinary Practice Pecon in Gemert and was the man who “discovered” the spread of the virus in Beek en Donk. “That happened last week; the contamination in Milheeze had already been reported to the ministry at the time, “says Koenen.” In Beek en Donk we noticed symptoms that we could not immediately bring home. They did not indicate the flu or any other illness. We then took the coronavirus into account deep in the back of our minds. When tests showed this, the ministry and the NVWA took action. “
“Precautions were rightly taken at the company and for an area with a radius of four hundred meters around the mink farm. But also for the entire sector. After all, a notification obligation was immediately issued.”
Koenen does not (yet) speak of a disaster, he hopes that the consequences will remain limited to the two companies for the time being. “It is also the first time that we have to deal with this. The animals do not get sicker than people become. I do not know the situation in Milheeze, a colleague of mine and I have not been there. In Beek en Donk it concerns a few dozen animals that are sick or deceased. Fortunately, it is not about hundreds of copies. Moreover, the rest eat well and show normal behavior, but we continue to take care. ”
And otherwise the other mink farmers. Some have already contacted Koenen. “Not because they also deal with sick animals, but because they have questions. And we are happy to help them. ” If only as a precaution.
Speaking of which: an area around the two mink farms had already been cordoned off last weekend. There are to ensure that pedestrians and (moped) cyclists do not enter the area in the near future plates placed. The site of the municipality of Gemert-Bakel has also indicated a diversion to and from Beek en Donk, which is located in the municipality of Laarbeek.