Danish Farm Minister quits over mink scandal

Eloise Marshall
November 19, 2020

The mass cull was ordered after it was discovered that a mutated version of the coronavirus found among minks in Danish farms can be transmitted to people, though there is no evidence so far that it is more risky or resistant to vaccines.

Danes' trust in the government has plummeted in the last weeks following the order, according to a study by Aarhus University, with just over half saying they trust the government in mid-November, down from a July high of more than 75 per cent.

Earlier the Department of Agriculture said testing of the mink herd in Ireland also detected no positive results to date.

On Wednesday, the Nordic country's Food and Agriculture Minister resigned following the admission by the government it did not have the proper legal basis behind the cull order, making it a potential constitutional breach. The owners will receive a wider compensation package in the future.

After attempting to pass emergency legislation to cull all mink in the country, Denmark has taken a step back.

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Meanwhile, the strict restrictions in North Jutland - including shutdowns of public transport, bars and restaurants, and limitations on movement - had originally been due to stay in place until December 3.

The worldwide health watchdog also confirmed the susceptibility of mink to the coronavirus, which thereby renders them risky to humans, with scientists describing the mutated form of the virus as less responsive to antibodies and thus endangering the efficacy of upcoming vaccines.

Danish mink farms are the world's biggest supplier of mink fur, accounting for 40% of global production. However, no cases of the mink mutation were identified among them.

But the animal has posed a problem in the fight against the new coronavirus. The mutations have even helped researchers track the sources of outbreaks in various countries.

The contamination of minks is not new, with breeders in several countries, including the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United States, reporting cases. Since then, mink COVID cases have also been confirmed in Wisconsin and MI.

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