Denmark is set to dig up millions of mink that were culled because of a mutated form of coronavirus, about four million mink will be exhumed from mass graves and incinerated to prevent pollution, the government said.
It is set to happen in May, when officials say the risk of coronavirus contamination from the dead animals will have passed. More than 15 million mink have been culled in Denmark, devastating its fur industry – the largest in the EU. Some of the mink buried in mass graves in a military area in the west of the country have resurfaced because of the nitrogen and phosphorus gases produced by their decay. The two burial sites are highly controversial, as one is near a bathing lake and the other not far from a source of drinking water. Residents have complained about the potential risk of contamination.
The ministry of food and agriculture said in a statement on Sunday that the government had gained support in parliament to dig up the mink next year. “Once the mink are no longer contaminated with Covid-19, they will be transported to an incineration facility, where they’ll be burned as commercial waste,” the ministry said.
Denmark announced early last month that it would cull all of its mink after a mutated form of coronavirus was found on mink farms. There were concerns that the mutated variant could threaten the effectiveness of future vaccines, the government later admitted that the cull was mishandled.