13 July 2022
Anima International released a new investigation from the biggest mink farm in Bulgaria, carried out between the autumn and winter of 2021. The footage reveals filthy and inadequate conditions, mink escaped from their cages, and animals suffering from serious untreated wounds.
The farm investigated is located in Madzehito, a small town on the outskirts of the town of Stara Zagora in central Bulgaria. It is the biggest mink farm in Bulgaria and houses over 100,000 animals.
Farm representatives also reported that the facility has been certified by Welfur, a certification programme which claims to ensure that farms provide adequate welfare standards for animals farmed for their skins.
The investigators documented animals in horrible conditions with wounds that seemingly have never been treated on their tails and backs. It seems as if no one inspected the animal health sufficiently, to provide proper treatment for animals in need. Some animals were found dead in their cages, their companions not being separated from them, nor their bodies removed by farm workers. What can be observed in the footage is a general state of neglect: broken cages with leftover food on them, cobwebs and filth below and above the cages, some animals running freely around the perimeter of the farm.
On 1 June, the Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water Borislav Sandov announced a ban on breeding or importing American Mink in Bulgaria, following concerns over threats to native biodiversity from escaped animals.
The investigation clearly revealed mink had escaped from their cages and were freely roaming the facility, illustrating the very real threat of animals escaping from the farm and damaging surrounding ecosystems.
Whilst this is a positive step forward in addressing the issues uncovered in the investigation, farms all over Europe continue to farm mink in poor conditions. The European Citizens’ Initiative Fur Free Europe is calling for a ban on fur farming across the European Union, as well as a ban on farmed fur products.