Danish minister resigns over ‘mistakes’ in response to coronavirus mink outbreak

Danish minister resigns over 'mistakes' in response to coronavirus mink outbreak
Minister for the Environment and Food Mogens Jensen resigned on Wednesday. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark's agriculture minister resigned on Wednesday following criticism of his handling of a mink cull ordered after the discovery of a mutated version of the coronavirus at some of the country's mink farms.

Mogens Jensen, the Minister for the Environment and Food, admitted last week that the government's order to cull all of Denmark's 15 to 17 million minks had no legal basis.

“I no longer have the necessary support from the parties in parliament,” he told Danish public television DR on Wednesday. “I must tender my resignation.” 

“It is very clear that mistakes have been made in my ministry, and I take responsibility,” he said.

Denmark ordered the cull on November 4th over fears that the mutated virus, which can jump to humans, could threaten the effectiveness of any future human vaccine, according to Copenhagen.

Some mink farmers protested against the order to slaughter their healthy minks, as media revealed that Danish legislation allowed the government to order the cull of minks only on affected farms and not a general cull, which the government later admitted.

To rectify the situation, the government has proposed a bill banning mink farms until 2022, but its apologies have done little to restore confidence, even among the minority Social Democratic government's allies on the left.

Opposition leader Jakob Elleman-Jensen of the Liberal party said “this is just the beginning”.

“This entire affair needs to be examined in detail to determine the prime minister's responsibility,” he told the Ritzau news agency.

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