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MINKS

Danish authorities cull 126 minks at illegal fur farm

Denmark’s Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) on Wednesday put down 126 minks which were being bred at a North Jutland farm in breach of a current ban on the industry.

A 2020 file photo of a Danish mink farm. Authorities on December 15th culled 126 mink after they were discovered in breach of a current Covid-19-related ban on the fur trade.
A 2020 file photo of a Danish mink farm. Authorities on December 15th culled 126 mink after they were discovered in breach of a current Covid-19-related ban on the fur trade. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Staff from the authority put down each of the animals with an injection, the agency confirmed in a statement.

The farm’s owner has been reported to police.

Mink breeding for the fur trade has been illegal in Denmark since December 29th last year, when a law was passed against it following a mass culling of the animals and the shuttering of the industry due to concerns related to Covid-19 transmission in minks.

The government order to cull the animals was later found to have no legal basis and is currently being investigated by a special commission.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s prime minister faces inquiry over decision to cull minks

Due to the law, it is not legal to own more than five minks.

A station officer at Central and West Jutland police confirmed that animals had been found at the farm.

“The Veterinary and Food Administration came to us with a complaint,” said the officer, Christian Toftemark.

The agency was informed via an anonymous tip. The police and an investigative unit from the food agency subsequently visited seven former mink farm sites in the area. The 126 minks were discovered at one of the farms.

“The minks we found today were being kept in normal mink cages. It is therefore our assessment that the minks were being kept for commercial purposes and therefore illegally. The case has therefore been referred to police for further investigation,” the head of the Veterinary and Food Administration investigative unit, Majbritt Birkmose, said in a press statement.

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MINKS

Danish health agency says mink farming poses low Covid-19 risk

A resumption of Denmark's banned mink farming poses little risk of Covid virus variants emerging, the country's public health institute said Tuesday in a report that could lead to the industry's revival.

Danish health agency says mink farming poses low Covid-19 risk

Denmark was the world’s leading exporter of mink fur until it decided in November 2020 to cull all its 15-17 million minks, after studies suggested that a variant found in some of the animals could jeopardise the effectiveness of future vaccines.

Prior to the cull, Denmark was also the world’s second-largest producer of mink fur after China.

The Scandinavian country later banned the breeding of the mammals until the end of 2022, in a blow to the industry.

The Danish public health institute SSI said in its report the risk was low that mink farming would lead to the emergence of variants of concern.

“Overall, the probability can be characterised as low, and is assumed to be significantly less than the probability that these will arise in a world population of 7.9 billion people”, it said.

The report is expected to play a part in the government’s decision later this year on whether to extend or end the ban.

According to Danish news agency Ritzau, 1,243 mink farmers have applied for state compensation for shutting down their farms.

Meanwhile only 15 have applied for compensation for dormant farms, suggesting that most mink farmers do not plan to resume even if the ban is lifted.

The Danish cull led to a political fiasco, when it quickly emerged — after the cull was already underway — that the government’s order had no legal basis, leading to the resignation of the agriculture minister, Mogens Jensen.

An agreement was reached retroactively to make the government’s decision legal, and the nationwide cull continued uninterrupted.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen later testified before a special parliamentary commission that she did not know the decision lacked legal basis.

READ ALSO: One percent of mink breeders apply for money to resume business

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