Denmark to spend billions on compensation deal for mink farmers

The government last night reached agreement over an 11-figure compensation package for mink fur farmers.

Denmark to spend billions on compensation deal for mink farmers
Culled mink in Denmark on November 6th 2020. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Up to 18.8 billion kroner (around €1.6 billion) will be given to mink breeders and people in related industries who lost their livelihoods when the government ordered animals to be culled and the industry shut down last November, after the outbreak of a mutated form of coronavirus at fur farms.

The exact figure is not known before individual claims have been assessed. Around 1,000 mink fur farms operated in Denmark prior to November’s dramatic shuttering of the industry.


A broad majority of parties in parliament have backed the deal, including the governing Social Democrats along with the Liberal and Liberal Alliance parties from the right wing and the Social Liberal and Socialist People’s parties from the left.

“This deal gives a fair and reasonable compensation so mink breeders can move forward,” acting finance minister Morten Bødskov said.

The deal includes a scheme to enable mink breeders to re-establish businesses once the current ban on the industry expires, as it is set to do on December 31st this year.

“We have negotiated from compensation which in no way would have covered the debts incurred by the industry to a situation in which there will be reasonable compensation,” said Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, leader of the Liberal party, in reference to the drawn-out negotiations over the deal.

A large part of the compensation package will be used to service the debts of mink farmers, Ritzau writes.

Parties not signatory to the agreement and other commenters reacted by highlighting the magnitude of the sum to be spent by the Danish state compensating mink farmers.

The agriculture spokesperson with the right-wing Danish People’s Party (DF), Lise Bech, tweeted that DF had not supported the deal because it wanted financing for resurrected businesses to be “cheaper for the state”.

“The government would not change a comma of the draft proposal on the table this evening,” Bech wrote.

“18.8 billion for some mink? You gotta be kidding me,” wrote lawmaker Sikandar Siddique of the recently-formed Independent Green party.

“I never again want to hear that we have no money for climate, nature, schools, the underprivileged, homeless, refugees, hospitals, childcare, a shorter working week, asylum seekers, better housing,” he wrote.

In a second tweet, Siddique said it was “crazy” to spend “billions and billions on dead mink and a sick industry”.

The government initially ordered the all minks in the country to be culled on November 4th after a mutated version of the new coronavirus was detected at its mink farms and had spread to people. The mutated form is now considered to have been eradicated.

The culling order issued by the government was later found to be illegal, and an official commission has since been appointed to scrutinize it.



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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.”