Dead minks are rising from their Danish graves after thousands of slaughtered and buried in shallow pits – some of which are now emerging – as a result of rushing culling for fear of a coronavirus mutation.
“Decomposition of bodies can produce gases,” Thomas Kristensen, a spokesman for the National Police, told the DR state broadcaster. “It all expands a bit. In this way, in the worst case, the mink is pushed out of the ground. “
Police in West Jutland, where thousands of mink were buried in the mass grave of a military training ground, tried to counteract the macabre phenomenon by shoveling extra soil on top of corpses in a ditch a meter deep.
“It’s a natural process,” Kristensen said. “Unfortunately, one meter of soil is not just one meter of soil – it depends on the type of soil. The problem is that the sandy soil of West Jutland is too clear. So we had to put more soil on top. “
Raising popular concern, local media reported that the animals were also buried near lakes and underground water reserves, raising fears of possible contamination of soil and drinking water supplies.
“No one seems to know the consequences of this,” Susan Münster, the Danish water directorate, told Jyllands Posten. – I have to admit, I find it worrying. At least two local mayors demanded that the mink be dug and burned, Münster said.
One local politician, Leif Brogger, told the newspaper: “The authorities are playing with our environment and using it as a landfill.”
Photos and videos from emerging bodies sparked a rumble in social media in Denmark: one Twitter user called 2020 “the year of the zombie mutant killer mink” and another called the population “running… The mink comes for you”.
According to the Danish Ministry of the Environment, the phenomenon was “a temporary problem related to the destruction process”, adding that the area will be monitored 24 hours a day until a fence is erected “to avoid possible problems for animals and humans”.
According to Kristensen, decomposing bodies, which are disinfected and covered with lime, pose little risk to humans before they are buried because the virus was transmitted to the air primarily by living mink.
However, it is possible that “small amounts of bacteria can still be trapped in their fur,” he said, adding that “it has never been healthy to get close to dead animals, so of course you have to stay away from it”.
Denmark, the world’s largest exporter of mink fur, announced in early November that it was scrapping more than 15 million mink after discovering a mutated version of the virus that could jeopardize the effectiveness of future vaccinations.
Two weeks later, and amid a political crisis over the legality of the regulation, the government concluded that the threat to human vaccinations had “most likely disappeared” in the absence of further cases of the mutated version.
According to the latest summary, the country’s mink peas have so far scrapped more than 10 million mink.