Danish authorities bust second illegal mink farm

An illustration file photo showing Danish police at a mink farm in October 2020.
An illustration file photo showing Danish police at a mink farm in October 2020. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Danish health authorities said Thursday they had discovered an illegal mink farm, a practice banned after the country controversially culled farmed minks nationwide last year over fears of a new coronavirus strain.

The find of 230 minks at a farm in northwestern Denmark, along with 60 foxes, follows a similar discovery of 126 minks at another farm last week.

Both owners have been reported to police, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said in a statement, adding that the minks would be put down.

Formerly the world’s leading exporter of mink fur, Denmark decided to kill all of its 15-17 million minks in November 2020 after studies suggested the variant found in some of the animals could jeopardise the effectiveness of future vaccines.

The Scandinavian country’s parliament later passed an emergency law which banned the breeding of the mammals in 2021, which was then extended to 2022, in a blow to the industry.

The affair has been mired in controversy after it quickly emerged — after the cull was already underway — that the order had no legal basis, leading to the resignation of the country’s agriculture minister.

An agreement was reached retroactively, rendering the government’s decision legal, and the nationwide cull went ahead as planned.

A specially appointed parliamentary commission has since April been scrutinising the government’s decision and all documents related to it, as well as questioning witnesses to dissect the decision-making process.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has defended the decision, telling the commission earlier in December that she believed it was “crucial that we acted quickly”.

A few weeks after the cull in the North Jutland region in northwestern Denmark, where many mink farms were concentrated, the mutation was declared extinct.

READ ALSO: Protestors damage Danish PM’s car during mink hearing

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