Denmark, once the world’s top exporter of mink furs, has offered to pay the nation’s mink farmers up to 19 billion Danish crowns ($4 billion) following an order last year to cull the country’s entire mink population.
- The deal includes compensation to the farmers for idle machinery and lost revenue until 2030
- The Government admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink
- Millions of the mink are set to be exhumed and incinerated in May
The Danish Government ordered the country’s entire herd of about 17 million mink, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, to be culled in early November after hundreds of farms suffered outbreaks of coronavirus and authorities found mutated strains of the virus among people.
Local politicians agreed to a deal that includes compensation to the farmers for idle machinery and lost revenue until 2030, the country’s finance ministry said in a statement.
Before the cull, Denmark was the world’s top exporter of mink to luxury fashion labels, with its pelts in high demand due to high breeding standards.
The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population left the Government reeling and prompted its agriculture minister to step down after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.
Monday’s deal also allows farmers to begin breeding mink when a temporary ban ends next year.
Mink set to be exhumed amid contamination fears
However, the agreement has not put an end to the country’s mink problems.
Some of the 4 million mink hastily buried at a military area in western Denmark started to resurface from the sandy soil soon after they were buried when gasses from the decomposition process pushed them out of the ground.
Authorities claimed there was no risk of the graves spreading the coronavirus, but residents complained about the potential risk of contaminating drinking water and a bathing lake less than 200 metres from the mass graves.
The Government gained support in Parliament to dig up the mink, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said in December.
The work will begin in May this year when the risk of contamination of COVID-19 from the dead animals has been eliminated, the ministry said.
The animals are set to be trucked to nearby waste incinerators for disposal.