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MINKS

One percent of mink breeders apply for money to resume business

Around one percent of all mink breeders have applied for money to be able to keep their businesses dormant and then continue operations, if mink breeding is allowed again in Denmark, according to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. This equates to just 13 mink breeders who may open their businesses again.

A mink farm in North Jutland
A mink farm in North Jutland in October 2020. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

1246 mink breeders on the other hand, have applied for compensation because they expect to close their businesses, according to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen).

At midnight on Saturday, the deadline expired for when Danish mink breeders could apply for what the agency calls dormant compensation (dvalekompensation) or closure compensation (nedlukningserstatning).

It is not known whether all mink breeders in Denmark have applied. But the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has written on its website that it expected to receive applications from around 1,200 mink businesses.

Breeding mink in Denmark has been banned since November 2020, when government ordered that all minks in Denmark to be culled on November 4th after a mutated version of the new coronavirus was detected at its mink farms and had spread to people. The mutated form is now considered to have been eradicated.

The culling order of around 15 million minks, issued by the government was later found to be illegal, and an official commission has since been appointed to scrutinise it. The commission is due to report its findings in April 2022.

A political agreement was reached in January 2021 on a compensation package for the mink breeders and people in related industries who lost their livelihoods. The package has been set up to around 18.8 billion kroner (around €1.6 billion).

According to the plan, mink breeding should be possible again from next year. But Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Rasmus Prehn has previously stated that the Statens Serum Institut (SSI) will make an assessment of whether this can happen on the 2nd May.

In the latest assessment from June last year, it was stated by SSI, among other things, that keeping mink in Denmark “may entail a health risk for people of unknown size”.

According to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries,  there are six independent commissions that must assess and determine how much money each mink breeder and related professions can have in compensation.

The money is paid out as the cases are processed. The last mink breeders may have to wait until the end of 2024.

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MINKS

Denmark demolishes mink farms three years after controversial shutdown

Authorities in Denmark have begun the ‘largest demolition job in the country’s modern history’ to tear down disused mink fur farms, three years after a government order to cull the country’s captive population of the animals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Denmark demolishes mink farms three years after controversial shutdown

In late 2020, the government ordered all fur farm minks to be destroyed amid concerns about a potential mutation of Covid-19 in the animals.

Most of the farms are located in West and North Jutland, where work has now begun to tear them down, Transport Minister Thomas Danielsen and Food and Agriculture Minister Jacob Jensen said in a joint statement.

“It’s only reasonable that mink farmers and their families can now look forward to a dignified end to an undignified chapter which has had serious consequences for affected families,” the ministers said.

The Building and Property Agency (Bygningsstyrelsen) says the work to demolish the farms is the biggest demolition job seen in modern Denmark.

Some 220 mink farmers have so far applied to have their farms demolished. The agency expects to receive more requests given 1,227 applications have so far ben submitted for the government’s compensation package for mink farmers who lost their businesses to the 2020 order.

Some 90 farms have been inspected with a view to compensation and subsequent demolition.

The farms cannot be demolished until compensation cases with farmers are concluded. Once this process is complete, the farms must be torn down.

Demolition of the farms and removal of rubble will cost an estimated 3.7 billion kroner.

Denmark decided to kill all of its some 15 million minks in November 2020 after studies suggested a variant found in some of the animals could jeopardise the effectiveness of future Covid-19 vaccines.

The measure was rushed through and the mutation found in minks was later deemed extinct.

All breeding was subsequently banned in 2021 and 2022.

However the cull quickly turned into a political nightmare for the Social Democrat government as it later emerged there was no legal basis to impose the measure on farmers.

In July 2022, a commission of inquiry set up to determine responsibility for the affair concluded that Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had made “seriously misleading” statements without having “either the knowledge or the perspective” to judge.

The commission however elected only to reprimand Frederiksen without further consequence.

The ban on mink fur breeding was lifted at the end of 2022.

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