Dead minks discarded in Denmark due to fears of the COVID-19 mutation rose from their graves this month as their bodies expanded during the decomposition process.
In his statement Newsweek, the Humane Society International animal welfare charity, said: “In Denmark, a mink waded to death was buried in shallow graves where their decaying body began to produce gases as part of the decomposition process, causing their bodies to expand and push back through the ground.
Earlier this month, members of the Danish military and police were deployed to help farmers scrap millions of mink that are bred for their fur.
Police reportedly shoveled additional soil over the tops of the corpses to try to remedy the situation. Thousands of animals were buried in a 3.3-meter-deep trench at a military training ground in the western part of the Jutland Peninsula.
Thomas Kristensen, a spokesman for the Danish police, told the DR state broadcaster: “As soon as the bodies decompose, gases can be formed. This results in a slight expansion of the whole. In this way, in the worst case, the mink will be pushed out of the ground.
“It’s a natural process. Unfortunately, one meter of soil is not just one meter of soil – it depends on what kind of soil. The problem is that the sandy soil of West Jutland is too light. So to have more soil on top,” Kristensen said.
Concerns have been raised about the risk of pollution because the bodies are close to drinking water supplies and other bodies of water.
“Dying animal carcasses will always be undesirable from a public health point of view, but the Danish authorities are most concerned that the proximity of the piles of corpses to local rivers, lakes and drinking water supplies could become contaminated,” Humane Society International said. Newsweek.
“Of course, this needs to be looked at, but the truth is that fur farming itself is polluting, as are other forms of intensive animal husbandry, because animals produce a lot of manure that can get into local waterways,” he added.
According to the Danish Ministry of the Environment and Food, the case was “a temporary problem related to the destruction process”, noting that the area is monitored daily until the fence is erected “to avoid possible problems for animals and people”.
According to Kristensen, the mink carcasses were disinfected and covered with lime before burial. He explained that the risk posed by decomposing bodies is small because live minks mostly transmit COVID-19 by exhaling it into the air.
Kristensen, however, warned that “small amounts of bacteria can still be trapped in their fur”, noting that “it is never healthy to get close to dead animals, so of course you have to stay away from it”.
Humane Society International said: “Few people realize that animals used in fashion, such as mink or fox fur, also degrade naturally like these buried mink, if it were not for the fact that the fur trade treats chemicals to prevent decomposing. “
Efforts to eradicate COVID-19-infected mink began in Denmark in June, but outbreaks of mink farms continued. Authorities say a new strain of the virus discovered among the mink, which has infected some people, could pose a threat to future COVID vaccines, Reuters reported this month.
According to the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Denmark is the world’s largest producer of hides and skins, with about 1,500 fur growers.
Earlier this month, animal welfare campaigns called for an end to the fur trade when millions of us were scrapped.