We’ve been burying bodies for thousands of years

Surely – and as Mr. Venning said, the answer to any question which includes the word “surely” is “No” – peoplpe were aware of this?

As if the Danish government’s rushed decision to cull and bury more than 10 million minks wasn’t a grisly enough story, thousands of the animals’ bloated cadavers have begun to re-emerge from their shallow graves.

The phenomenon was reported by Denmark’s state broadcaster DR on Tuesday after mink carcasses were spotted popping up to the surface at a mass burial site at a military training field on Sunday.

“It is an extraordinary situation,” Thomas Kristensen, a press officer with Denmark’s National Police, which is responsible for the mink burials, told state broadcaster DR.

“In connection with the decay, gasses form, which cause the whole thing to expand a little, and then in the worst case they get pushed out of the ground.”

Bodies need to be buried deeply to stop this happening. That’s why it’s “six foot under”.

OK, doesn’t have to be six foot for a mink but the principle remains. We don’t use shallow graves for a reason.

25 thoughts on “We’ve been burying bodies for thousands of years”

  1. Or it could be that the kung flu has turned them all into killer zombie minks, and they are about to slaughter us all and eat our braaaaaaiiiiiinnnnnssssssssss.

    (About as believable as vallance’s predictions!)

  2. I didn’t know that; I assumed 6 foot was to stop critters digging them up. But one would expect someone responsible for mass graves to know, unless of course it was the public sector.

  3. I think three feet is the minimum, your typical six-foot grave will have several coffins in it and is “full” when you can’t get three feet of soil over it*. I think six feet came around as the deepest you can dig and still climb out of the hole, and a neat “human” number. Six feet long, six feet down.

    *When my grandmother died she couldn’t go in the family plot with the pre-existing gravestone with a gap waiting for her because it was full, a couple of extra babbies had been put in in the last 70 years, leaving no room.

  4. Well, as we all know, this being done by the evil capitalists, corners will have been cut to make extra profit…

    What’s that, this was a public body getting it wrong, how will we pin that on evil capitalists??

  5. @phillip: I was puzzled about this too – especially as incinerators generate energy, making it a tiny bit less of an utterly pointless waste of resources.

  6. I dunno. Cremating 10 million minks would be a big job. I wonder if anyone has done the arithmetic on how many sites, how many incinerators, and how much time you’d need to get this done. Can anyone think of any historical examples?

  7. “Didn’t this happen during the Great Cattle Sacrifice under the Blunderer..?”

    I don’t think they buried cattle in the foot and mouth crisis, they were incinerated in massive pyres if I remember rightly. They did bury them back in the 1967 outbreak, but I think the conclusion was it meant too much land was sterilised – F&M burial sites are contaminated land and you can’t do much with it any more, and as they tended to be buried on the farms they were slaughtered at, the farmers weren’t happy at having a contaminated site to deal with forever.

    It would be interesting to know if the locations of all these burials were ever recorded, because I know of a site locally that my Father told me was used as a burial pit for F&M in ’67 and oddly enough its never used for anything, even farming, and is in a prime spot for housing development, but has never been built on.

  8. Meanwhile, there’ll be some deluded bint throwing paint over models at fashion shows because “Fur Is Cruelty”

  9. “OK, doesn’t have to be six foot for a mink but the principle remains. We don’t use shallow graves for a reason.”

    WE don’t. Other cultures may well not be acquainted with our practices, coming from lands where disposal of animal bodies may be carried out differently.

    I wonder if the company contracted to do this work was picked from the cheapest tender, and used the cheapest inexperienced workers it could find…?

  10. Covid appears to have a crowding out effect on flu. There are hardly any flu cases in hospital now at a time of year we’d expect thousands. I wonder if this might be the case with the mink covid. If this mutated version turned out to be harmless to humans could it be used as a ready made vaccine? A long shot, and I may have my virology wrong. but worth a thought?

  11. Weren’t the next door neighbours (the Huns) rather good at cremating millions of rather larger cadavers?

    And, for good measure, they are still in the European Union with the Danes …

  12. @philip

    No evidence of “crowding out”, at least in the sense of “if one is doing the rounds it impedes the other from doing so.” They are competing causes of mortality for the very frail but that’s a different thing to how much transmission is going on.

    Seasonal flu has a far lower basic reproduction number (R0) than Covid, and with present reductions in social contacts, it’s easier to get the effective reproduction number (“the R number”) under one for flu than Covid. Note that the effect of reducing R is highly non-linear so the same set of contact restrictions can have a far greater (or lesser) proportionate effect on one disease than another. Moreover flu seasons vary a lot in severity from year to year; the fact the Australian flu season was mild is generally an indicator that this the European one is going to be mild too.

  13. That’s what King Harold said about Harald Hardrada

    “But six foot of English soil shall he have. Actually he is quite tall so he can have seven.”

    Why didn’t they dump the poor creatures in the North Sea ?

  14. MBE
    Point taken.
    If flu is less infectious than covid then it is a bit surprising that Ferguson’s predictions never came true. Covid is now endemic but not many people are catching it. So it’s basic reproduction number can’t be very high, or a lot more people now have immunity than the tests imply.
    If that is the case, a large proportion has T cell or cross immunity, from other coronaviruses. The mink variant is another corona so I imagine it would be at least worth a look at how dangerous it is for humans and if you catch one you can’t catch another.
    This virus is a blessing in some ways. It is so innocuous to children I can foresee parents holding covid parties for their kids in the same way as they used to do for chicken pox.

  15. @philip

    “If flu is less infectious than covid” – there isn’t much “if” in it, it isn’t even close. For seasonal flu R0 is in the region of the low one point somethings, say 1.3ish, for COVID-19 the estimates have been between 2 and 4 and the more recent ones generally on the high side of that.

    “Covid is now endemic” – I don’t think this word means what you think it means? Sounds like what you’re trying to say is it’s got out into the UK so it’s now something we need to think of as a “British” disease rather than a temporary invader we can easily contain and eliminate. But in epidemiology “endemic” means “the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area”. If you look at e.g. the ONS household survey data, it’s clear we haven’t been in a long-term “steady state” equilibrium, but rather are in an epidemic stage. For terminology see https://www.cdc.gov/csels/dsepd/ss1978/lesson1/section11.html

    “but not many people are catching it. So it’s basic reproduction number can’t be very high, or …” – this tells you that the effective reproduction is low, not the basic reproduction number. As indeed current estimates suggest: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk but whenever social contact patterns have crept up (even to levels nowhere near what normal life looks like) the effective reproduction number has gone up too. Even considering this casual observation without doing any number-crunching shows that the basic reproduction number must be considerably higher than for flu.

    “The mink variant is another corona so I imagine it would be at least worth a look at how dangerous it is for humans and if you catch one you can’t catch another.” Have a look at https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03218-z and hopefully you’ll see what the problem is.

  16. Puncturing half a dozen membranes per corpse plus loose soil should do the gas-venting job, shouldn’t it?

    I mean, clinical psychiatry invented a fair number of specific tools for an extraordinarily similar job over a half-century ago, I hear it was quite a popular procedure in the nordi-scandics. Fallen out of favour of late, so there should be plenty of said tools lying around, just waiting to be repurposed.

  17. MBE, I’d be really interested to hear your take on how many people have had corona plus proportion with prior cross-reactive immunity. I’m happy to hear wild guesses, reasoned argument, or failing that solid data. How many months are we, pace vaccines with unprecedented efficacy being mandated with consequences that would have shamed the SED, from endemicness?

    We’re obviously not yet endemic in Europe, but the IFR is now tending to, not zero, but something close enough for it to not matter.

  18. 3 times as many mink in Denmark as persons. Well, that gives us a European version of the Kiwi sheep stat. Golden lining, etc, etc …

  19. My take is that covid19 is a disease of super-spreaders, in that it seems to take a critical mass of people for it to spread. So it is, at the same time, less infectious than the average flu but, in the right setting, more infectious, and it can be much more virulent. Which suggests it should be easier to guard against, by restricting the super spreader events

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *