Australian News

Australian news and media publication


Many of the minks are being buried in shallow wells at a military training ground in the West Jutland region.

Cleaning chemicals are used to disinfect a common mink pit in Denmark.
Cleaning chemicals are used to disinfect a common mink pit in Denmark. (AP)

But a natural phenomenon means that many of the corpses are being pushed from the ground into the open.

“As bodies decompose, gases can form,” police spokesman Thomas Kristensen told national broadcaster DR.

“This makes everything expand a little bit. This way, in the worst case, the mink comes out of the ground.”

The minks were buried in mass graves under a meter of earth, but the soil in the region is too light to contain the decomposing bodies.

Now there is concern that mass graves may be contaminating drinking water in the region.

Thorbjoern Jepsen, a mink farmer, holds a mink as the police break into his mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark.
Mink breeder Thorbjoern Jepsen holds up a mink as the police break into his mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark. (AP / Henning Bagger)

“The location of the mink graves is very unfortunate and quite incomprehensible,” said director Susan M√ľnster.

“We do not know what substances may end up in the water that residents of the area have to drink.”

The press release noted that runoff from cemeteries is considered wastewater and is treated accordingly, but there is no such policy for the mink mass grave.

It noted that people with their own water extraction devices, such as wells, are at particular risk of being exposed to runoff from the mink carcass.

Irrigation is also problematic if done with contaminated water.

Employees of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the Danish Emergency Management Agency transport a container at a mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark
Employees of the Danish Food and Veterinary Administration and the Danish Emergency Management Agency transport a container at a mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark. (AP / Henning Bagger Ritzau)

The mink slaughter was carried out after coronavirus was detected in 63 farms.

Minks are small mammals similar to weasels and ferrets, which are bred for their especially soft and lush fur.

Kopenhagen Fur, a cooperative of 1,500 Danish breeders, accounts for 40% of the world’s mink production. Most of its exports go to China and Hong Kong.

The coronavirus pandemic could “threaten the entire profession,” said Tage Pedersen, president of the Danish Fur Breeders Association.

“All breeders are right now in a great deal of uncertainty and frustration over this ‘meteor’ that has fallen on our heads.”

Scientists are still investigating how mink got infected and whether they can pass it on to people.

Mink peek out of a cage on a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus
Mink gaze from a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus. (AP / Sergei Grits)

Some may have contracted the virus from infected workers.

Danish authorities say some farm workers later contracted the mink virus.

The World Health Organization has warned that antibodies that fight coronavirus are less effective against Cluster 5, making it a more dangerous strain.

In August, the Netherlands pushed forward a mandatory end to mink farming by three years until 2021 amid a growing number of coronavirus infections in fur farms.

Mink farmer Thorbjoern Jepsen walks alongside mink in his enclosure at his mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark
Mink farmer Thorbjoern Jepsen walks alongside mink in his enclosure at his mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark. (AP / Mads Claus Rasmussen)

In Poland, another major exporter of mink fur, the right-wing ruling coalition and the opposition are deeply divided over a new law that would ban fur farms.

Opponents say the law will destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of fur producers.


www.9news.com.au

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *