Minister: Mink neglect must stop

Sweden's agriculture minister Eskil Erlandsson has demanded an end to the neglectful treatment of minks after having been presented with macabre film footage from Sweden's mink farms.

Minister: Mink neglect must stop

Erlandsson promised swift measures to curb the abuse, but opposition to the practice of mink farming continued to grow.

“This can not be allowed to happen. That which we have seen on the pictures is not consistent with Swedish law,” said Eskil Erlandsson to news agency TT, after a hastily arranged meeting with the Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket).

The board has been given the task of developing a plan to stop the neglect and to establish checks to ensure an improvement of animal protection. The board will also compile a report of current research.

Erlandsson has promised more funds for animal protection controls, so that transparency can work more efficiently.

The pictures, recorded over the past 18 months by the The Animal Rights Alliance (Djurrättsalliansen) and showing mink that have bitten each other to death and cages containing the bodies of dead animals, have received an angry reaction.

Left Party leader Lars Ohly, in a debate article in Aftonbladet, demanded swift measures to tackle the situation, or Eskil Erlandsson’s resignation.

The Animal Rights Alliance has called for mink farming to be banned.

“We argue that all mink farmers are breaking animal welfare laws and that the regulations are not compatible with our animal welfare laws. Given that these breaches of the law have been allowed to continue for 22 years, we argue that this is no longer a case for police and animal welfare inspectors, but for politicians,” said Lina Flyren, spokeswoman for Djurrättsalliansen.

“We argue that rearing [minks] is morally abhorrent and should be banned immediately,” she said.

Flyren said the organization had not yet decided whether to push for prosecution of the offending mink farmers:

“This is more a political question than a matter for the police. If you have such serious breaches of the animal protection laws at 20 percent of mink farms, then it’s pretty representative of mink farms in general. We want a ban – that’s all we’re going to argue for,” she said.

The activists have said they will not cooperate with legal investigations into their break-ins at Swedish mink farms.

“We admit that we did it, but we won’t reveal the identities of our research teams. We view it as vital to keep that to ourselves,” she said.

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Denmark begins exhumation of four million mink carcasses

The first of the mink carcasses buried after last autumn’s mass cull have been dug up for incineration.

Denmark begins exhumation of four million mink carcasses
The exhumation of the minks began at 4am on Thursday. Photo: Mikkel Berg Pedersen/Ritzau Scanpix

The so-called “test exhumation” began at Nørre Felding, south of Holsterbro at 4am on Thursday morning. The carcasses will be incinerated at one of the 13 waste facilities that have submitted bids for the task, some at Amager, some at Sønderborg, and others to Hjørring in the north.

Citizens in the areas near the mink burial sites have been warned in advance that they may be exposed to bad smells when the decomposed carcasses are brought to the surface.

“I regret that this will cause some noise and some smell, but I think the residents would rather have this for a short period, and then know that the problem is solved and the risk of pollution eliminated, than have to live with the uncertainty for many years going forward,” said Rasmus Prehn, Denmark’s agriculture minister, in a statement.


But the broadcaster’s reporter Svend Vilhelm Mikkelsen said that the smell was minimal. “You can smell it clearly when the truck carrying the minks drives by, but it’s peanuts compared to standing in a pigsty,” he said.

The dig at Nørre Felding, a military area in northern Zealand, will be used to assess the condition of the minks after six months buried under soil and lime, before quickly moving on to the full-scale exhumation. 

Prehn told Ritzau that Denmark had selected a public holiday, Ascension or Kristi Himmelfartsdag, to speed up the process. 

“If we are to achieve this as soon as possible, before the weather becomes so warm that we risk further odor nuisances, then now is the time to strike. On a public holiday, everything else being equal, there is also less traffic on the roads, so you can reach the incineration plant more quickly.”

The plan is for all the animal carcasses to be dug up and incinerated by mid-July.