At the height of the Covid-19 hysteria, Denmark’s government decided to liquidate 17 million minks in the country’s 200+ mink farms. They were killed with poisonous gas and buried in shallow graves. It was the first compulsory shutdown of an entire farming sector in European history. It was also carried out right before skinning season, in which huge numbers of minks would have been killed anyway.
It was alleged that Covid-19 in minks could jeopardize future vaccines. However, there was no legal basis for the extermination. Last June, an official commission appointed by parliament declared that government officials made “grossly misleading” statements to justify the extermination.
At the time, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod of the Social Democrats declared, “We would rather go a step too far than take a step too little to combat Covid-19.” Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, also of the Social Democrats, claims she did not know it was illegal when the extermination was launched.
Now Mette Frederiksen says coalition partner Radical Venstre has been trying to “blackmail” her over the scandal. Radical Venstre withdrew their support for the ruling coalition, and the government faced collapse.
Denmark’s ruling coalition was made up of the “Red Bloc,” which includes the Social Democrats, Green Left, Radical Venstre, Red-Green Alliance, and two Inuit parties from Greenland. Parliament was scheduled to hold a debate starting on October 6th. Frederiksen decided to dissolve the ruling coalition ahead of the debate rather than face a vote of no confidence from parliament.
Frederiksen informed the Queen of Denmark that she is scheduling an early SNAP election for November 1st.
A ban on mink farming has never been lifted. Many on the left believe that the slaughter of 17 million minks was justified because it created a backdoor way to ban mink farming.
Britta Riis, CEO of Animal Protection Denmark, has defended the extermination ever since. She says that mink farming was “cruelty to animals, a risk to public health, and harmful to the environment.” Riis maintains that the extermination was beneficial, and the public can now “reap the benefits” of a permanent ban on mink farming.
Steen Henrik Møller, a senior researcher in the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University, says that even if mink farming was re-legalized, the entire breeding population was wiped out.
The government of Denmark is expected to pay out around €2 billion in compensation to former mink farmers.