The Danish mink cull scandal, explained
The 2020 culling of Denmark’s entire farmed mink population had no legal justification, according to a parliamentary inquiry.
Background: Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s government decided to slaughter millions of mink to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to BBC News. Up to 17 million mink were culled toward the end of 2020 after some Danish farms were found to have a mutated virus variant. At the time of the culling, mass graves with mink appeared in Denmark’s countryside, and mink farmers pleaded on TV for their livelihoods, BBC reported. The move cost Danish taxpayers billions, according to The Guardian.
Driving the news: Public outcry over the mink culling has been renewed by the findings of a parliamentary commission report. The move was “reprehensible” and “grossly” misled Denmark, the commission report stated, according to Financial Times.
There was no legal justification for the move, the commission found. The report also stated that the plan included many risks, according to The Guardian: “The extermination plan was fraught with problems, including reports of mink rising from mass graves, pollution risks from buried carcasses and fears that escaped mink might infect those in the wild and create a permanent virus reservoir from which new variants might infect humans.”
What’s next: An impeachment case against Frederiksen is possible, if one of the parties in parliament that supports the government “backs an independent legal assessment of the report,” according to BBC. As of now, only opposition parties support an impeachment case, according to BBC. The report criticized other top officials in Denmark as well, ABC News reported. There is still a ban on mink farming in Denmark, according to The Guardian.