Danish Prime Minister asked about mass slaughter of mink

In Denmark, they call it “minkgate”. A government decision last year to slaughter the Danish herd of 17 million mink for fear that infe...

In Denmark, they call it “minkgate”.

A government decision last year to slaughter the Danish herd of 17 million mink for fear that infected animals could transmit the coronavirus to humans has sparked a huge uproar in a country that had been the world’s largest exporter of skins of high quality mink commonly used in coats.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was grilled in Parliament on Thursday over her government’s decision last year, which resulted in the loss of 5,000 jobs in Denmark – and was also found to be illegal.

Testifying Thursday before a parliamentary inquiry into the decision to cull the mink herd, Ms Frederiksen denied knowing that the government did not have the legal authority to order the slaughter of the entire population of the animals, as she did has done it before.

She said she was only made aware of it on November 8, 2020, days after announcing the government’s decision. The government later admitted that it only had the legal power to kill infected animals, prompting the Minister of Agriculture to resign.

Parliament has appointed an independent three-member commission to investigate the case and if it finds that the prime minister has not told the truth on the legal issues, she could face impeachment.

“Had I been informed that there was no legal basis” for the mass slaughter, Ms Frederiksen said, she would have called for a law to be passed to allow it, answering questions on Thursday from a lawyer working with the commission of inquiry.

The massacre followed the discovery that mink infected by humans could pass a strain of the virus mutated to humans.

The government’s decision to ban mink farming has effectively destroyed the entire industry, at least temporarily. More than 5,500 people have lost their jobs, according to SEGES, a local industrial source, and more than a thousand cleared mink farms are now empty.

Right-wing political parties have accused the center-left government of using the pandemic to try to end it mink agriculture in Denmark, which has been blamed for a number of public health problems. The government ordinance is expected to cost around $ 3 billion in expenses and compensation for farmers and the mink industry, according to the Danish finance ministry.

Mink are known to have been infected with the pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2 in half a dozen countries around the world and mink farming is also reduced in other countries following the findings on coronavirus transmissions.

Slaughter also posed other problems. Some of the slaughtered mink were improperly buried in mass graves and started to come out of the ground, swollen with decomposition gases. The remains were therefore exhumed and burned in incinerators.

Hanne Moller Kristensen, 54, who has raised animals for more than three decades, said government orders to slaughter her 15,000 mink made her feel like “a rug was pulled under my feet.” With her main source of income gone, she now works as a cleaner in the intensive care unit of a hospital near the small town of Hjallerup in northern Denmark.

She said she felt “frustrated and helpless”.

Also following the slaughter, the world’s largest fur auction house, Kopenhagen Fur, announcement it would close in 2023.

The Justice Department said it attempted, but was unsuccessful, to retrieve text messages between the prime minister and other officials in which they could have discussed the legality of the mink slaughter ordinance . The messages were deleted because officials set their phones to erase texts after 30 days.

Ms Frederiksen said that even if the messages were retrieved, they would not shed light on the questions being asked.

“Will these text messages show anything new about my knowledge of the lack of legal basis?” No, they won’t, ”she said at a recent press briefing.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Danish Prime Minister asked about mass slaughter of mink
Danish Prime Minister asked about mass slaughter of mink
Newsrust - US Top News
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