Denmark’s Agriculture Minister has resigned over an illegal government order to euthanize the country’s farm mink.
Mogens Jensen announced that he was resigning on Wednesday on social media, saying he no longer had the support of a majority in parliament. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also faced calls for her resignation from the opposition. Its Executive is facing the greatest crisis since his election.
Earlier this month, the government ordered that the country’s entire mink population be euthanized due to a mutation in the coronavirus. that could affect the effectiveness of future COVID-19 vaccines.
The drastic decision came after analyzes by the Danish Institute of Health and health authorities, which had identified cluster variants in the small animal coronavirus.
The authorities recruited the army and the police to help Denmark’s 1,100 mink farmers to slaughter their 17 million minks, one of the largest animal populations in the world.
Denmark raises minks for their skins, and farmers had claimed the order would end their business. The Danish Government later determined that it had no legal basis for the announcement and could only slaughter minks in the places where the infection had been detected or in the immediate area.
Several of the left and center parties that give Mette Frederiksen’s Social Democratic government a parliamentary majority quickly withdrew their confidence in the government.
“I want the Prime Minister to recognize that when she makes a mistake, it is her responsibility.”added opposition leader Jakob Elleman-Jensen of the Liberal Party.
The opposition demands more resignations
“She made the decision and did not intervene and stopped her when she found out that it was illegal, the case, therefore, does not stop with the departure of Mogens Jensen,” he added on Twitter hinting that the opposition is demanding more resignations.
The Danish opposition has also called for an independent investigation into the government’s actions to determine if they knowingly violated the law. “My ministry has made mistakes in connection with the government’s announcement of the decision to leave all minks in Denmark,” Jensen said in a Facebook post.
“I regretted it before, I regret it again and I take responsibility for this, I especially regret this to the many mink farmers who have been in a very difficult situation. There has only been one purpose: to stop the Covid-19 infection in and from the mink because it represents a threat to public health, “the minister explained.
The first cases of coronavirus in mink were detected in June and the Government then ordered the slaughter of all the animals of the affected farms, while increasing the control measures in the rest of the facilities.
This week, Denmark got the necessary support in Parliament to push for a legal reform that will ban mink farming until December 31, 2021.