SHARE
COPY LINK

MINKS

Denmark’s culled minks rise from mass grave

A rushed cull of Denmark's minks over concerns about a coronavirus mutation has left the country facing a new horror, as cadavers of the animals re-emerge from the earth.

Denmark's culled minks rise from mass grave
A mass grave dug for minks at Holstebro, photographed on November 13th. Photo: Morten Stricker/Jysk Fynske Medier/Ritzau Scanpix

The macabre phenomenon was observed in a military training field outside the western town of Holstebro, where thousands of minks had been put into an improvised mass grave.

The carcasses rose to the surface, lifted by pressure from gases released by the decomposition, according to local police.

The environment ministry said minks should be covered by at least 150 centimetres (five feet) of earth, but according to public broadcaster DR they were only buried under 100 centimetres of dirt in the field outside Holstebro.

“The authorities are playing with our environment and using it as a dumping ground,” Leif Brøgger, a local politician, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Adding to the frustration, the animals had been buried too close to a lake, raising fears of phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, though officials have promised to fix the situation.

The ministry insisted the minks' escape from their tomb was a “temporary problem tied to the animals' decaying process”.

“To avoid potential problems for animals and humans the area will be monitored 24 hours a day until a fence is put up,” said the ministry.

Photos and videos of the ghastly sight have set social media abuzz, with one Twitter user dubbing 2020 “the year of the zombie mutant killer minks”.

In early November, Denmark — which is the world's largest exporter of mink fur — announced it would cull all of the country's more than 15 million minks after a mutated version of the novel coronavirus was discovered and believed to jeopardise the effectiveness of future vaccines.

Two weeks after having issued the decree — while in the middle of political crisis over the legality of the decision — the government concluded last week that the potential threat to human vaccines was “very likely extinguished”, in the absence of any new cases of the mutated version.

More than 10 million minks have already been culled in the Scandinavian country, according to the latest tally.

READ ALSO:

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

COVID-19

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.” 

SHOW COMMENTS