Denmark is exhuming millions of minks killed by coronavirus to prevent pollution

Denmark exhumed millions of mink killed by coronavirus to prevent pollution

Denmark dug two mass graves at military sites near Holstebro and Karup in November

Copenhagen:

Four million minks killed in Denmark for a mutant strain of coronavirus will be dug up next year to prevent pollution, the government said on Sunday in the latest twist on a long-running saga.

If parliament approves, the mink carcasses will be excavated in six months and burned once the risk of infection is completely exceeded, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.

“In this way we avoid treating the mink as hazardous biological waste, a solution that has never been used before,” the ministry said.

Denmark dug two mass graves at military sites near Holstebro and Karup in the west of the country in November.

Under fire for dealing with the “mink crisis”, however, the government had to admit that the pits pose an environmental risk to the water table and the nearby lakes.

The ministry said the pollution threat was not urgent and that “the environmental agency is closely following the situation,” allowing the delay in digging up the minks until May.

Denmark, the world’s leading exporter of mink fur, said in November it would wipe out its entire 15 million mink population because of a mutant strain of coronavirus that could compromise the effectiveness of future human vaccines.

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Copenhagen said on November 19 that the “Cluster 5” mutation had been wiped out and that minks are the only animal confirmed to be able to both contract the strain and pass it on to humans.

However, the government’s decision turned into a political crisis when it was found that it had no legal basis for the cull.

The Minister of Agriculture resigned and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen tearfully apologized.

Now a law is to be passed on Monday that bans mink keeping until 2022.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)

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