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Denmark ejects mink breeders from compensation committees

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Denmark ejects mink breeders from compensation committees
A mink fur farm being reestablished in Denmark in 2023. The industry was forcibly shut down by the government during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Mink fur breeders in Denmark will no longer influence the amount paid out in compensation to fellow breeders whose farms were closed during the Covid pandemic, the government has said.

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Mink fur breeders will no longer participate on committees which decide how much compensation to award other mink breeders, agriculture minister Jacob Jensen confirmed to broadcaster DR on Thursday.

The government set aside billions of kroner for compensation to mink breeders after ordering all fur farm minks be destroyed in late 2020, over concerns related to Covid-19 mutations in the animals. The order to destroy the minks was later found to be illegal in a major scandal for the government.

Recent reports by media Zetland have described how the breeders have gained influence over the compensation through their presence on the committees.

“We don’t think there should be direct representation on the commissions,” Jensen told DR.

READ ALSO: Danish mink fur breeders received 'too much compensation'

The change in practice will require a formal agreement between the government and the opposition parties who agreed to the mink breeder compensation programme, but this is not expected to present an obstacle.

A review of 27 compensation cases by Zetland found that mink fur breeders had the highest representation of any professional group involved in the commissions, whose remit is to decide the amount to award individual breeders in compensation.

Not including independent chairpersons, 7 out of 10 commission members were put up by either the mink fur industry or Landbrug & Fødevarer, the interest organisation for the agriculture sector. Some commission members are waiting for their own claims to be resolved, Zetland reported.

Jensen said he wanted the commissions to have a “better composition”.

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That could include judges, economists or others who “have knowledge of the value of property,” he said.

In comments to newswire Ritzau, the chairperson of mink fur interest organisation Kopenhagen Fur, Tage Pedersen, said his “first thought is it’s a shame, because I think we had a good system”.

Changing the existing system means further delays for fur breeders awaiting compensation, while it is the farmers themselves who are in the best position to evaluate the value of a farm, he noted.

“But I also have say that me and my family and all other mink breeders and their families have been harassed so much over the last eight days that we can't take it anymore. So actually I am also relieved,” he said.

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