Culled mink in Denmark are rising from the ground, police struggle to keep them buried

The gasses formed during the process of decay are causing the mink to rise and jut out of the ground

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Denmark is culling its entire mink population in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 through its animal population, but some are rising out of their graves.

Thousands of mink were buried in a military training field in West Jutland, in metre-long trenches. The thin, sandy soil of the area was not heavy enough to keep the mink down.

“As the bodies decay, gasses can be formed,” Thomas Kristensen, a national police press officer, told state broadcaster DR. “This causes the whole thing to expand a little. In this way, in the worst cases, the mink get pushed out of the ground.”

The national police have been shovelling extra soil atop the trenches in an effort to prevent the culled mink from rising again.

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Since June, Denmark — one of the world’s largest suppliers of mink furs — has been culling its herds in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. The mink farms created an optimal spreading ground for COVID with the minks stacked so close together, and the virus was beginning to travel between the animals and humans.


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In early November, Denmark made the unprecedented decision to cull all 17 million of the country’s mink. Since that, the government has been embroiled in a legal battle over the hasty decision. So far, 10 million of the country’s mink have been culled, many in the shallow pits that are the cause of the latest scare.

“This is a natural process,” Kristensen said. “Unfortunately, one metre of soil is not just one metre of soil — it depends on what type of soil it is. The problem is that the sandy soil in West Jutland is too light. So we have had to lay more soil on top.”

Besides being a grisly sight, local media began citing concerns about the buried animals contaminating nearby lakes and underground water reserves, possibly spoiling ground and drinking water supplies,The Guardian reports.
Thousands of killed mink are buried at Jydske Dragonregiment’s training ground at Noerre Felding near Holstebro, Denmark November 12, 2020. Picture taken November 12, 2020. PHOTO BY Morten Stricker/Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS.
“The authorities are playing with our environment, and using it as a dumping ground,” a local politician, Leif Brogger, told Jyllands Posten.
The national police say the killed animals pose no threat for infecting people with COVID-19. The culled animals were treated with disinfectant and covered with lime when buried to decrease risk of infection.
As of now, there is no guarantee that a similar incident won’t happen again.