Dead mink resurface from mass grave in Denmark

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Danish health authorities are assisted by members of the Danish Armed Forces to dispose of dead minks in a military area near Holstebro in Denmark on November 9, 2020. Morten Stricker / Dagbladet Holstebro Struer / Jysk Fynske Medier / Ritzau Scanpix / via REUTERS

Mink that were euthanized to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus on fur farms in Denmark have resurfaced from mass graves this week, prompting complaints from residents about potential health risks.

Denmark ordered all farmed minks to be euthanized earlier this month after discovering that a mutated coronavirus, which infected 12 people, showed lower sensitivity to antibodies, which could reduce the effectiveness of any vaccine.

Less than two weeks after thousands of minks were buried in a military area in western Denmark, hundreds of them have resurfaced from the sandy soil after beginning to decompose, according to the Danish Food and Veterinary Administration.

The minks were buried in trenches about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) deep and covered with about 2 meters of soil, he said.

Mass graves are guarded 24 hours a day to keep people and animals away from the graves until a fence is built, he said.

Authorities say there is no risk of the graves spreading the coronavirus, but residents have complained of the potential risk of contaminating drinking water and a bathing lake less than 200 meters from mass graves.

Several lawmakers have criticized the hasty slaughter and called for the dead minks to be dug up and taken to a waste incinerator, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported on Friday.

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