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Breeding of American mink for obtaining fur in Bulgaria is illegal



In Bulgaria there are two mink farms for fur obtained from mink – in the village of Medzherito near the town of Stara Zagora and in the village of Lyuben Karavelovo near the city of Varna with total capacity at the moment of about 12 000 adult animals and unspecified number of newborns. Both farms are registered by the Regional Food Safety Directorates in violation of the local and pan European legal regulations, alerted by the Bulgarian branch of the international animal protection organization Four Paws.


„Both facilities do not meet the requirements of a number of regulations – from the pan European Regulation on the prevention of the spread of invasive alien species to the Veterinary Practice Act and the Ordinance for breeding of furred and feathered game,“ explained Dr. Marina Ivanova, Project Manager at Four Paws. „In Ordinance No. 2 of 11 February 2009 on the conditions for breeding of furred and feathered game in animal breeding facilities are listed the species, which can be raised for production of valued fur. American mink with Latin name “Neovison vison”, which is raised in the two farms registered in our country is not among them.“


Among the other flagrant legal violations in the operation of the existing farms for production of furs are the requirements on spacing of 500 m from other animal breeding facilities, populated areas or main roads and the requirements on the minimum area for raising each animal in accordance with the needs of the species, which refers to Ordinance No. 6 of 23 October 2003 on the minimum requirements and conditions for keeping animals in zoos and centers for keeping and breeding protected animal species. Furthermore, the Veterinary Practice Act clearly states that killing of animals for obtaining of raw materials should be made by slaughter, but not in any other way – i.е. by using gas chambers.


„Save for our legislation, since 22 October 2014 entered into force pan European Regulation № 1143/2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. Importation, breeding and raising of American mink, which is considered „invasive alien species“ for Bulgaria, is completely contrary to this Regulation,“ stated Dr. Ivanova. „It is clear that at the registration of the two farms the officials of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency have not been sufficiently familiar with the legal regulations, or simply turned a blind eye.“


Four Paws have already sent a letter to the Executive Director of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency demanding the circumstances related to the registration of the two mink farms to be cleared, and sanctions to be imposed on the officials of the Regional Food Safety Directorates in Stara Zagora and Varna, who allowed legalization of such violations. The experts of the animal protection organization are explicit that the farms in the village of Madzherito and the village of Lyuben Karavelovo should be closed down.