Denmark’s political leaders were being questioned in parliament on Thursday over the treatment of thousands of mink in the country last year.
More than 10,000 mink died in a cull conducted on farms run by the Danish Animal Welfare Association (FdV), in a country where consumption of mink fur products is extremely popular. More than 600,000 of the animals were captured in the first six months of 2018 and burned, while 5,000 more were euthanised on farms and later buried.
“I saw that they were burning and they were in agony, so I left,” one of the birds on one of the farms which was among the organisations which participated in the cull told the animal rights group Pocersaviren, the Copenhagen daily newspaper Politiken reported. “It was horrible. They put them in pyres.”
Conservative prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen gave a parliamentary hearing into the deaths on Thursday and said the death of 10,000 animals was “unacceptable”, some of which he himself witnessed.
“They had fewer and fewer resources to fight the fire before they died,” Rasmussen said, adding that the cattle farmers had opted to round up all the mink in a month, which included extra expenses and much faster transport.
“I know which breed of mink was at fault – bantam, a poorly adapted breed, and that we were like children in the middle of the fire,” Rasmussen said. “I made two decisions. I could never use out troops, which would be at risk, or I could bring in the judges … That would also have put more responsibility on us. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was the only right one.”