Copenhagen, 27 November (efe-epa) – The Danish government on Friday said it was in favour of closing the mass graves of minks, which were destroyed due to a possible covid-19 virus mutation.
Three weeks ago the Danish authorities ordered the slaughter of the approximately 15 million minks in thousand of farms across Denmark, when a strain of the virus was detected in the animal which weakened the capacity to create antibodies, potentially compromising the effectiveness of future vaccines.
Although some of the animals have been incinerated, the authorities set up two mass graves at military facilities in the west of the country to speed up the process.
The discovery that some minks had been buried less than 300 metres away from a lake as well as images showing hundreds of dead minks which had risen to the surface as a result of decomposition gases caused some government parties to demand a removal of the animals in those graves.
“I wanted to move the minks and incinerate them from day one,” Agriculture Minister Rasmus Prehn told TV2 on Friday.
He took office a week ago after the previous incumbent resigned over a dispute over the legality of an order to slaughter all the animals, not only the infected ones.
At a recent parliamentary hearing, Environment Minister Lea Wermelin regretted the errors made in burying some minks without respecting the required distance but assured that there was no danger of water pollution from the nitrogen and phosphorus emitted by the carcasses.
“We would all have liked to have avoided this situation, but the authorities had to manage it and there was a problem with the incineration capacity,” said Wermelin.
Apart from closing down the mink fur industry, which employs some 6,000 people in the country, the government’s decision has unleashed a political storm in which the opposition is demanding more resignations and questioning the responsibility of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
The Danish Parliament has not yet agreed on the nature and scope of a committee of inquiry into the case, while the amount of compensation to the affected farmers, who have already staged several protest demonstrations throughout the country, is yet to be determined. EFE-EPA