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Denmark gives mink farmer suspended sentence for illegal breeding

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Denmark gives mink farmer suspended sentence for illegal breeding
Minks are delivered at a fur farm in Denmark in January 2023, after a ban on the trade ended. A breeder was on April 17th given a suspended prison sentence for breaching the ban in 2021. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

A mink breeder located in West Jutland has been handed a fine and suspended prison sentence for keeping the animals while a national ban on the trade was in place.

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The breeder was prosecuted for continuing to breed minks while a ban against the trade was in place due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The breeder, based in West Jutland village Thyholm, was found to have 126 minks at his farm during an inspection in December 2021.

The conditional prison sentence, given after a ruling at the Holstebro Court, includes a community service requirement. The company with which the farmer is director must pay a fine of 100,000 kroner.

Denmark banned mink breeding in late 2020 over concerns about potential Covid variants that could emerge from the farms. The ban was lifted at the end of last year.

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During the trial, the farmer claimed the animals weren’t his, and that he was looking after them for someone else.

“It was minks I looked after for others. They [the owners, ed.] came by and checked them,” he is reported to have said.

Private ownership of up to five minks was permitted while the ban on fur breeding was in place.

During the inspection, the Danish Veterinary and Food Agency (Fødevarestyrelsen) found the animals being kept “in farm-like conditions” with feed and medicines also discovered at the address.

A vet from the agency said during the trial that he was in no doubt that breeding was at play.

“They were kept in cages that millions of other minks were kept in. The cages were fastened with plastic strips so there was nothing to suggest this was pets,” he said.

The agency culled all 126 minks during the inspection, in line with Denmark’s Covid-19 controls at the time.

The farmer is reported to be considering an appeal against the decision.

READ ALSO: Half of Denmark’s mink breeders did not take Covid-19 tests despite requests

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