Denmark Begins To Bury Minks In Mass Graves As Cull Runs Into Legal Problems

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 10 Nov 2020 15:01
Denmark Begins To Bury Minks In Mass Graves As Cull Runs Into Legal ProblemsPA

Denmark has encountered legal and political pushback following its decision to kill 17 million of the country’s mink.

Health officials in Denmark stated that the animals showed reduced sensitivity to COVID antibodies, meaning if a human was to contract the virus through the animals, a vaccine may not be as effective.


Following these concerns, the country decided to cull all 17 million of it’s mink in a bid to prevent the spread of the supposed mutation risk. Denmark is the largest European distributor of mink fur.

PA Images

As of today, November 10, it’s thought around two million of the animals have been killed so far, according to the Financial Times.

Prime minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen told Reuters, ‘The mutated virus in mink may pose a risk to the effectiveness of a future vaccine.’


Despite what Frederiksen and other Denmark officials said, others remained sceptical of the risks minks really posed and if killing so many animals was necessary.

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, the leader of Denmark’s largest opposition party Venstre, is against the decision.

PA Images

He said, as per The Guardian, ‘Massive doubts over whether this cull is properly scientifically based [have] come to light now. At the same time the government is taking away the livelihood of a large number of people without actually having the legal rights to do so.’


Others have expressed concerns about the legality of Denmark’s decision to kill the animals. Law professor at the University of Southern Denmark Frederik Waage told Berlingske, ‘It’s an illegal order. All mink breeders have thus been asked to start immediately, so there is no doubt that the order was illegal.’

He added:

The government and the authorities have no authority to ask the mink breeders outside the zones to slaughter their mink. So the mink breeders can postpone the killing, as the legal situation is now.

However, the government is now working on legislation that means mink breeders outside of the supposed ‘risk zones’ have to kill their herds as well, reported the Danish publication.

Niamh Shackleton

Following the news last week, Francois Balloux, the director of the University College London Genetics Institute and a professor of computational systems biology, explained that he doesn’t believe minks are to blame for the mutation the Danish government have detected.

Balloux said, ‘Vaccine-escape mutations may (or not) arise in humans in the future, if they are advantageous to the virus for (once vaccines will be deployed). They definitely won’t be fuelled by mutations having emerged in minks.’

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Denmark, News, World News


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Denmark drops plans for mass mink cull after Covid mutation fears