AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Dutch government intends to cull the mink at farms where animals have been infected with the coronavirus, broadcaster RTL reported on Wednesday.

A Dutch government source confirmed the report was accurate, but she could not say more until the details and reasoning have been sent to parliament.

The RTL report said “thousands” of mink, which are bred for their fur, will be culled.

Coronavirus has so far been detected on eight farms in the Netherlands. The Agriculture Ministry last month reported two cases where mink are believed to have transmitted the disease to humans, in what are the only animal-to-human cases on record since the global outbreak began in China.

Human transmission of the virus to cats has been reported in several countries. The outbreaks on the Dutch mink farms are all thought to have originated from human handlers.

The country’s National Institute for Health (RIVM) has said that the risk of animal-to-human and human-to-animal transmission remains “minimal.”

The Dutch mink farm outbreaks were first reported in April, when keepers noticed some animals having difficulty breathing, prompting a wider investigation.

On May 28, Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten said that a decision on culling the affected farms would depend on an analysis of whether the mink could form a lasting source of potential infection for people or animals.

A law banning mink farming in the Netherlands was passed in 2013, and the remaining 120 farms are due to cease operations in 2023. The Dutch industry group says most pelts are sold in European countries and to North America, with China an important growth market.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Toby Chopra)