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Denmark wants to dig up 'zombie mink' from mass graves

After human infections with coronavirus strain, 17 million animals were culled, buried, then hundreds were pushed out of the ground by decomposition gas.
Image: *** BESTPIX *** Disaster In Denmark As Covid-19 Mutation Detected On Mink Farms
Culled minks await transfer to a refrigeration truck on Nov. 6 in Herning, Denmark.Ole Jensen / Getty Images
/ Source: Reuters

COPENHAGEN - Denmark's government wants to dig up mink that were culled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, after some resurfaced from mass graves.

Denmark ordered all farmed mink to be culled early this month after finding that 12 people had been infected by a mutated strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, which passed from humans to mink and back to humans.

The decision led to 17 million animals being destroyed and to the resignation last week of Food and Agriculture Minister Morgens Jensen, after it was determined that the order was illegal.

Dead mink were tipped into trenches at a military area in western Denmark and covered with two meters (about six feet) of soil. But hundreds have begun resurfacing, pushed out of the ground by what authorities say is gas from their decomposition. Newspapers have referred to them as the "zombie mink."

Jensen's replacement, Rasmus Prehn, said Friday that he supported the idea of digging up the animals and incinerating them. He said he had asked the environmental protection agency look into whether it could be done. Parliament was to be briefed on the issue on Monday.

The macabre burial sites, guarded 24 hours a day to keep people and animals away, have drawn complaints from area residents about possible health risks.

Authorities say there is no risk of the graves spreading the coronavirus, but locals worry about potential contamination of drinking water and a lake less than 200 meters (656 feet) away.