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Mink buried in mass graves may have contaminated groundwater in Denmark

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Millions of mink massacred and buried in mass graves in Denmark due to coronavirus fears may have contaminated the groundwater — as parliament announced it would probe the ordeal.

Officials determined last month that all of the country’s more than 15 million mink would need to be slaughtered, after a mutated version of COVID-19 — with the potential to weaken the effectiveness of vaccines — was discovered in fur farms and factories. 

Authorities, who could not handle incinerating so many dead animals at once, instead buried many of them just three feet deep in a military training field in West Jutland, The Guardian reported

Some have even risen from their graves like zombies, propelled by gases released during the decomposition process.

As a result of the mass burials, groundwater in the area may have already been polluted by the carcasses of the furry critters, local station Radio4 reported, citing a study for the environmental protection agency.

Burial pits containing culled mink are seen in Karup, Denmark, yesterday.
Burial pits containing culled mink are seen in Karup, Denmark, yesterday.
Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The results of a more wide-ranging survey of the environmental impact of these burial sites, which are now guarded around the clock, are not expected to be ready before the new year, the agency said this week. 

Danish media said Thursday that parliament was also set to start probing the affair.

Meanwhile, the ministry of food, agriculture and fisheries admitted that it’s unclear where or how 4,700 tons — about 1.5 million dead mink — had been disposed of, state broadcaster Danmarks Radio reported.

A worker cleans out a shed that formerly housed mink at a farm in Moldrup, Denmark, yesterday.
A worker cleans out a shed that formerly housed mink at a farm in Moldrup, Denmark, yesterday.
Andrew Kelly/Reuters

“It may seem wildly questionable when you hear it, but we cannot account for every mink,” agriculture minister Rasmus Prehn, said.

“You can tear your hair out that it can be like that, but it is unfortunately the truth. It is not unlikely that more have been buried than thought, that is our best bet at present.”

The ministry confirmed that the Danish veterinary and food administration was tasked with disposing of 31,000 tons of culled mink — around 11 million bodies, The Guardian reported.

People are seen working at the site of burial pits that contain culled minks in Karup, Denmark, yesterday.
People are seen working at the site of burial pits that contain culled minks in Karup, Denmark, yesterday.
Andrew Kelly/Reuters

About 10,400 tons have been buried in two mass graves in the western part of the country, 14,000 more tons have been processed at a plant typically used by the fur industry, and about 2,300 tons have either been incinerated or await incineration. The rest are unaccounted for.

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