Not a single mink left in Estonian fur farms

The Estonian animal advocacy organization Loomus, colleagues of Respect for Animals in the Fur Free Alliance, is proud to report that, according to assurances from the Ministry of Rural Affairs and a verification visit by Veterinary and Food Board, the Estonian fur farms no longer house a single mink. Also, as stated to Loomus by Veterinary and Food Board, and the Environmental Board of Estonia, the Neitla mink farm had its activity license temporarily suspended.

“By today, a mere handful of animals, a few dozen employees and a heap of empty rows of cages remain at Estonian fur farms. On the global market, fur demand remains low and the consumers have turned their back on fur,” said Loomus board member Regly Johanson. “No better moment than now to close down the fur farms – hence obsolete forever.”

At the beginning of May, an interpellation was forwarded by Loodus to the Ministry of Rural Affairs and the Minister of Rural Affairs Mr Arvo Aller, enquiring which measures, if any, had been taken to thwart the spread of zoonotic diseases; how large was the number of farmed minks left in Estonia, and which additional measures were being considered to stop the spread of zoonotic diseases including COVID-19 in fur farms.

On June 3rd, Loomus was informed by the Ministry of Rural Affairs that, at the moment, Estonia had not a single mink farm active and running. The ministry said that due to the market situation, Estonia’s largest mink farm, Balti Karusnahk OÜ, had halted its farming of minks at the end of 2019.

Since mid-January this year, Loomus has kept in touch with Veterinary and Food Board and Environmental Board regarding contradictions between Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA) and Environmental Board data. While the Veterinary and Food Board states citing PRIA data, that the Neitla farm stopped its farming operations in February 2018, an inspection visit by Environmental Board in the summer of 2019 did discover 12 minks at said farm. Which means the keeper had informed Veterinary and Food Board for over a year ago of halting its operations, though the last remaining animals were still present on the premises.

On June 5th, the Veterinary and Food Foard issued its final reply to the inquiry by Loodus, stating that whereas not a single animal was left at the Neitla mink farm, the Environmental Board had proposed to suspend the farm’s activity license for the period the farm holds no animals. “It is our pleasure to be finally able to confirm, in full assurance and on basis of verified facts, that as of today, Estonia is mink farm fee,” said Ms Johanson. 

In 2016, Estonia’s fur farms held about 130,000 American minks.

Mark Glover, Campaigns Director for Respect for Animals , said: “Fur farming is unsustainable, both economically and environmentally, while perpetuating inherently cruel levels of animal welfare. Loomus deserve our sincere thanks for their sterling work against the fur trade and we support their continued efforts to ensure fur farming ends for ever in Estonia.”