Culled mink resurface after burial in Denmark

Thousands of culled mink in Denmark re-emerging from shallow graves

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.

So far, 10 million of Denmark's 17 million minks have been culled, including those of the family, which lost its entire herd, on fears that a new coronavirus strain could compromise the efficacy of vaccines.

Denmark culled thousands of mink in the northern part of the country after 11 people were sickened by a mutated version of the coronavirus that had been observed among the animals.

Carcasses of dead minks rose to the surface in Denmark's mass mink graves due to gases from decomposition.

Police in West Jutland, where several thousand mink were buried in a mass grave on a military training field, have tried to counter the macabre phenomenon by shovelling extra soil on top of the corpses, which are in a 1 metre-deep trench.

Ruling out the zombie minks theory, Thomas Kristensen, a national police spokesman told the state broadcaster DR: "As the bodies decay, gases can be formed".

There are also concerns that that drinking water could become infected, as the culled animals have been buried close to lakes and water reserves.

A local politician, Leif Brogger, who also spoke with the newspaper, said, "The authorities are playing with our environment, and using it as a dumping ground".

The ministry insisted the minks' escape from their tomb was a "temporary problem tied to the animals' decaying process".

Two weeks after having issued the decree - while in the middle of political crisis over the legality of the decision - the government concluded last week that the potential threat to human vaccines was "very likely extinguished", in the absence of any new cases of the mutated version.

The country's prime minister has stressed the mink breeders must not be blamed for culling of the healthy animals.

The head of government was visiting a mink farmer in the municipality of Kolding, whose animals were euthanized despite being healthy, even though it was later proved the government had no legal right to do so.

"Before wiping tears away with her sleeve, she added: "(The operators) had their life's work shattered in a very, very short time. "Sorry. It has for me too", said Frederiksen, adding mistakes had been made and it was not the fault of breeders.

After a tumultuous couple of weeks since the order was given on November 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Mogens Jensen, stepped down last week after an internal investigation revealed a flawed political process.

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