Farmed mink in Denmark, which carry a variant of Covid-19. Picture: REUTERS/JACOB GRONHOLT-PEDERSEN
Farmed mink in Denmark, which carry a variant of Covid-19. Picture: REUTERS/JACOB GRONHOLT-PEDERSEN

Copenhagen — Denmark’s minister for food and agriculture said on Wednesday that he would step down due to a lack of confidence from fellow lawmakers following an illegal order by the government to cull the country’s farmed mink.

“I have today informed the prime minister that I wish to resign from the government. I realise that there isn’t the necessary support for me among the parliamentary parties,” food and agriculture minister Mogens Jensen said on Twitter.

The move comes as the government faces its biggest crisis yet during the pandemic after it illegally ordered the culling of all farmed mink earlier this month to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including a new, mutated strain.

Two weeks ago, authorities drafted the military and police to help Denmark’s 1,100 mink farmers cull their 17-million mink, one of the world’s biggest herds of the animals, which are bred for their fur.

The government’s drastic decision came after health authorities said the mink industry posed a risk to public health in the country due to widespread outbreaks on farms, exacerbated by the find of a mutated virus strain, which it said could compromise the efficacy of future vaccines.

“It is wise that Jensen is retiring. There was no other way forward,” political leader of government ally Socialists People’s Party, Pia Olsen Dyhr, said on Twitter.

Opposition parties welcomed Jensen’s decision, but redirected their attention towards Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who they say is also accountable, and called for an independent investigation into the government’s actions.

“Jensen shouldn’t take all the heat for a decision that was actually made in the prime minister’s office. So Frederiksen must take responsibility,” head of populist Danish People’s Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, said on Twitter.

Danes’ trust in the government has plummeted in past weeks following the order, according to a study by Aarhus University, with just over half saying they trust the government in mid-November, down from a July high of more than 75%.


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