Danish minister in charge of culling millions of mink over Covid-19 fears resigns after bungling ‘illegal’ order
enmark’s agriculture minister has resigned following an “illegal” order by the government to cull more than 17 million mink.
The country’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen also faced calls from the opposition to step down after it was revealed that the order to cull Denmark’s farmed mink had no legal basis.
Agriculture Minister Mogens Jensen confirmed his resignation in a Facebook post in which he admitted that his ministry had made mistakes in connection with the government’s announcement about culling minks.
“I regretted this earlier, I regret it again and take responsibility for this, especially I regret this to the many mink farmers who have been in a very unhappy situation,” he said.
“There has only been one purpose: to stop the Covid-19 infection in and from mink because it poses a threat to public health.”
Opposition leader Jakob Elleman-Jensen of The Liberal Party called for the Prime Minister to also step down.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen attends a news conference in the Prime Minister’s Office
/ via REUTERS )
“I want the prime minister to acknowledge that when she makes a mistake, it’s her responsibility,” said Mr Elleman-Jensen.
His call was supported by other opposition parties, while other ministers said they wanted an independent investigation into the government’s actions to determine if the government knowingly broke the law.
It came after the one-party Social Democratic, minority government made a deal late on Monday with other parties to support a law proposal that would allow for the culling of all mink, including those outside northern Denmark where infections have been found.
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The law proposal also bans mink farming until the end of 2021.
Speaking at the time, Mr Jensen told parliament: “There is now an agreement that will take care of that.
“I would like to apologise to the Danish mink breeders that it was not made clear that there was no legal basis.”
The mutated version of the coronavirus found among the mink can be transmitted to people, though there is no evidence so far that it is more dangerous or resistant to vaccines.
Earlier this month, authorities said that 11 people were sickened by it.
There are 1,139 mink farms in Denmark, employing about 6,000 people, according to the industry. They account for 40 per cent of global mink fur production and are the world’s biggest exporter.