COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Hundreds of Danish farmers and mink breeders demonstrated with tractors on Saturday against the government’s decision to cull mink animals to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 500 tractors, many of them decorated with the Danish flag, passed through the government and parliament offices in Copenhagen to the port. Another 400 people staged a similar protest in Aarhus, the country’s second city.
Prime Minister Frederiksen’s government acknowledged that its decision to cull more than 15 million minkes has no legal basis for those who have not been contaminated with Covid-19 and outrageous breeders.
Denmark, a country of about 5.8 million people, has been the world’s leading exporter of mink fur for several decades.
Leather hides sell for around 670 million EUR (792 million USD) annually, and are the second largest in the world after China.
The Ministry of Health said on Thursday that a modified version of the new Corona virus discovered in Danish minkles that raised concerns about the effectiveness of a future vaccine had been eliminated.
“It’s not fair what happened to the breeders,” said Daniel, 19, a farm worker for mink animals.
“The entire sector will now have to be closed,” he added.
Frederiksen has already issued an apology and the agriculture minister resigned on Wednesday, but the plan still completes the culling of the entire mink stock in the country.
Despite her apology, Prime Minister Mitt Frederiksen insisted that the execution remained “non-negotiable”.
Her government is now working on legislation to make this possible – by banning mink cultivation until January 1, 2022.