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Danish minister resigns over mink virus row

Danish minister resigns over mink virus row

Ireland is ordering the nation's three mink farms to cull all of their 120,000 animals, signaling a likely end to Irish fur farming after years of debate and delay.

Denmark's agriculture minister has resigned, amid backlash to the government's order to cull all of the country's mink population.

It is understood the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan wrote to the Department of Agriculture recommending the move, after a mutation of the virus was linked to animals in Denmark.

More precisely, it is the government's decision on November 4 to cull the entire mink population in Denmark without legal basis that has led to Jensen's ministerial demise.

"The process has been messy", Food and Agriculture Minister Mogens Jensen said in a statement released on Monday night, about two weeks after the initial order to cull all mink was given.

Sweden's mink herd is vastly smaller than Denmark's, which was one of the world's biggest.

Mink farmer Frank Andersen described the cull as "panic solutions" and said authorities should have come up with a compensation plan first.

This would have outlawed the continued operation of mink farms in the midlands county of Laois, in Kerry in the southwest, and Donegal in the northwest. The AP reports at least 11 people were sickened by a mutated version of the virus. Greece announced last week it had culled minks on farms where the animals had tested positive. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has on Thursday, Nov. 12 issued new guidance to curb the spread of the coronavirus between minks and humans, warning that the transmission of COVID-19 among animals could speed up the number of mutations in the virus before it potentially jumps back into people.

The prime minister's traditional presentation of a new government member to Queen Margrethe, who formally is the country's head of state, didn't happen because one of Frederiksen's family members had tested positive to the coronavirus. "I do not mean to disregard the law", she said.

There are 1,139 mink farms in Denmark, employing about 6,000 people, according to the industry. Most exports go to China and Hong Kong.