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Denmark starts digging up bodies of 4 million culled mink to prevent water contamination

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 5/14/2021 Jessica Schladebeck

Excavation crews on Friday were working in Denmark to unearth 13 tons of decomposing mink for fear their corpses will contaminate drinking water and a bathing lake.

In November, the nation culled its entire mink population after a mutated version of COVID-19 was uncovered on several different mink farms. Officials grew concerned the creatures would be able to re-transmit the coronavirus variant to humans and disrupt efforts to vaccinate against the fast-spreading disease.

FILE - Thousands of killed mink are buried at Jydske Dragonregiment's training ground at Noerre Felding near Holstebro in Denmark on Nov. 12 2020. Millions of Coronavirus infected minks were destroyed in Denmark and cases of the disease were found elsewhere in the world. © Provided by New York Daily News FILE - Thousands of killed mink are buried at Jydske Dragonregiment's training ground at Noerre Felding near Holstebro in Denmark on Nov. 12 2020. Millions of Coronavirus infected minks were destroyed in Denmark and cases of the disease were found elsewhere in the world.

FILE - Thousands of killed mink are buried at Jydske Dragonregiment's training ground at Noerre Felding near Holstebro in Denmark on Nov. 12 2020. Millions of Coronavirus infected minks were destroyed in Denmark and cases of the disease were found elsewhere in the world. (Morten Stricker/)

More than 17 million mink were culled, despite the Danish government lacking authority to order the mass killing of the healthy animals. In addition to devastating the nation’s fur industry — the largest in the European Union — the culling has also sparked concern regarding pollution among other environmental issues.


Video: Millions of minks to be culled in Denmark as coronavirus safety measure (NBC News)

The agriculture minister later resigned after the government admitted it had acted illegally and while scientists believe the dangerous strain to now be extinct, the race to bury the creatures caused them to rise from the dead, so to speak.

Authorities at the time said the gases that formed within the minks’ decaying bodies caused their corpses to swell and re-emerge from their shallow graves.

a group of sheep in a cage: FILE - In this file photo dated Friday Nov. 6, 2020, mink look out from a pen at a farm near Naestved, Denmark. © Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix FILE - In this file photo dated Friday Nov. 6, 2020, mink look out from a pen at a farm near Naestved, Denmark.

FILE - In this file photo dated Friday Nov. 6, 2020, mink look out from a pen at a farm near Naestved, Denmark. (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/)

Efforts to excavate 4 million minks across two different Danish territories, located near a drinking and bathing water supply for a military training area, kicked off on Thursday and are expected to cost $24.4 million.

The dug up remains are expected to be incinerated at several different sites across the country.

With News Wire Services

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