November 27, 2020
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Mink that were culled to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus at fur farms in Denmark have resurfaced from mass graves this week, prompting complaints from residents about possible health risks.
Denmark ordered all farmed mink to be culled early this month after finding that a mutated coronavirus, which infected 12 people, showed decreased sensitivity to antibodies, potentially lowering the efficacy of any vaccines.
Less than two weeks after thousands of mink were buried at a military area in western Denmark, hundreds of them have resurfaced from the sandy soil after starting to decay, according to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
The mink were buried in trenches about 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) deep and covered with about 2 metres of soil, it said.
The mass graves are guarded 24 hours a day to keep people and animals away from the graves until a fence has been constructed, it said.
Authorities say there is no risk of the graves spreading the coronavirus, but residents have complained about the potential risk of contaminating drinking water and a bathing lake less than 200 metres from the mass graves.
Several lawmakers have criticised the hasty culling and have call for the dead minks to be dug up and taken to a waste incinerator, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported on Friday.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen)