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The American minks farms in Bulgaria exist in violation of the existing legal norms, was revealed during a round table discussion


The industry presents huge risks for the environment and the public health, was firmly stated by experts and environmentalists


The farms for American minks are functioning in violation of the existing legal norms, was revealed during the round table session held yesterday – initiated by the Center for Food Chain Risk Assessment (CFCRA).

The unanimous opinion declared by experts both from the CFCRE and the Bulgarian Academy of Science’s Natural history museum, and supported by NGO’s, is that the American mink is strongly invasive species and its farming hides risks for the biodiversity, the environment and the public health. The ordinance that regulates the conditions under which feathered and furred game can be raised does not at all include the American minks as a species allowed to be farmed. Despite that in the last few years the Bulgarian food safety agency – in obvious violation of the existing legal norms – issued animal breeding facilities permits for at least two American mink farms.

According to Dr. Marina Ivanova - Country Director of FOUR PAWS Bulgaria, farming wild animals for their fur is absolutely unacceptable from ethical point, and also hides risks for the wellbeing of humans and the environment: “American minks are very adaptive when once they escape from their cages, they have no natural enemies and that’s why they are in the top 100 list of the most dangerous and invasive species declared by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). Damages they can cause on the biodiversity are huge, as well are the costs for the removal of their population. Not only in Bulgaria but everywhere in Europe the industry is failing to guarantee a level of security that will provide measures against minks escaping their cages. Not only this but also – minks are carrying a lot of diseases that are harmful and dangerous to people – and that is why raising them in industrial farms is pretty risky for the public health”.

According to the information from the representatives of the Union of the Mink Breeders – 100 000 mink furs were produced in Bulgaria in 2016 that worth around 3.5 mln. levs (around 1.75 mln. Euro), and the industry employs around 40 people. The industry’s plans in Bulgaria are to get to the levels of France’s and Ireland’s – where about 200 000 American mink furs are produced on a yearly base. From the information that was presented one could easily calculate that the share of the yield of furs is roughly 0.004% from the Bulgarian GDP (92.6 billion levs for 2016), and the jobs provided are covering only 0.001% of the working-age population. Meanwhile the price of mink furs is decreasing on the international auction markets because of the invasion of Asian producers. By the data presented by the Union of the mink breeders it turns out that the value of one fur produced in Bulgaria is around 18 Euros – among the lowest levels on the market, which suggests that the production is not among the most quality ones.

FOUR PAWS reminds that the fur is rapidly losing popularity both with the fashion designers and with the clothes manufacturers. In September YOOX Net-a-Porter – one of the biggest luxury fashion clothes and accessories retailers announced that will no longer use fur and joined giants like Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, H&M, Zara, Pull and Bear, Berschka, Massimo Dutti and 750 more fashion companies which are part of the Fur Free Retailer program.

“The question is: is it worth it to put people’s health, the environment and the biodiversity in entire regions in jeopardy just to develop an industry that is in recess? It is not by an accident that Netherlands – the third largest producer of fur in Europe – applied a total ban on fur produce. Such a ban must also be implemented in Bulgaria, before we get to the point that the government will have to pay huge expenses for damages caused by the industry“, said Dr. Ivanova.

The round table discussion revealed also an issue about a mink farm near a village in the Yambol district (Southeastern Bulgaria) that is functioning without a registration from the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency. It turned out that there is no information about it in both – the Ministry of Agriculture and Foods; and the Ministry of Environment.