Danish PM Avoids Impeachment Over Illegal Mink Cull

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (Reuters) —

Signage prohibiting entry hangs by burial pits that contain culled mink during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Karup, Denmark, December 10, 2020. (REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo)

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen received an official reprimand from parliament on Tuesday, including from her own party, but avoided an impeachment over the government’s decision to cull all mink in the country two years ago.

Supporting parties to the minority Social Democratic government handed Frederiksen the equivalent of a political slap on the wrist, local media reported, and one party has demanded the government calls an election in early October.

“We believe there is a basis for criticizing the government,” Rasmus Stoklund, political speaker for the Social Democratic Party, told broadcaster Channel 2.

Such a reprimand rarely has concrete consequences.

The government ordered about 17 million mink to be culled in 2020 over fears of spreading a mutated coronavirus variant, but the decision caused controversy when it emerged there had been no legal basis to call for healthy mink to be culled.

The incident led parliament to commission a probe into whether Frederiksen and her government had knowingly issued an illegal order. The probe concluded last week that Frederiksen had not been aware of the lack of legal basis.

But the Prime Minister office’s actions “led to the gross misleading of mink breeders and the public,” the commission behind the probe said in its report to parliament.

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