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(en) Poland, rozbrat: Breeding fur animals provokes a wave of protests Jaroslaw Urbanski

Date Sun, 2 Sep 2018 09:56:11 +0300

Currently in Poland there is a discussion on the total statutory ban on animal husbandry for fur. The draft amendment to the law on animal protection, where the ban on fur farming has been enacted, has been stuck in the Sejm. The pro-minority organizations are planning a nationwide demonstration in Warsaw, which will take place on 13 September . ---- Currently, Poland is the third - after China and Denmark - producer of fur animal skins in the world. Production in 2016 was to amount to 8.5 million. skins and focuses mainly on the area of two provinces: West Pomeranian and Greater Poland. Over 90% of production is directed to export. ---- In the past, Poland was an important export in Europe of livestock, livestock skins and pork. Central Europe also ran a trade route from today's Russia to Western Europe, which very often outweighed the large number of wild fur fur skins that came from the boreal forests lying in the north-east of the continent. Polish urban centers - such as Lublin, Gniezno, and Poznan - brokered fur trade. Some cities in Central Europe were also an important producer of furriery products during the "small ice age" (1300-1850) - among others Leipzig.

Furry boom

Nevertheless, with the beginning of the development of modern agriculture, fur production has never developed in Poland. They were raised at most in a small number of rabbits in the convergence system. The first fur farms were established at the end of the 1920s. Before World War II, however, only a few dozen breeders operated in Poland, when, for example, there were already over 1,200 of them in Sweden.

Also after the end of the war, no importance was attached to this industry. It was not until the mid-1990s that interest in it grew a bit, and the boom in the Polish fur industry came as a result of the appearance of Dutch companies and NAFA (North American Fur Auctions) representatives in the country. In 2009, NAFA put a large sorting of fur skins in use near Goleniów. Another company investing in Poland was Van Ansem Group. Currently, several farms of fur animals in Poland belong to the van Ansem family. The Norpol company based in Zdzary near Goleniów is also associated with van Ansemami. According to information from the company's website, Norpol "is the world's largest mink skin processing center. (...) We provide services for many breeders from all over Europe (Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland), having changed over 3.3 million for several years. skins seasonally. "

These investments caused that the Polish export of fur animal fur increased by fourfold - from EUR 98.6 million in 2009 to EUR 402.3 million in 2014. At present, the number of fur-eating carnivorous animals, mainly American minks (that is, not counting usually small for herbivorous rabbits or nutria), can be estimated at 700-750 plants.

Protests against farms

With the increase in the number of farms and hide-away animals, an increasing number of protests by local communities began to take place, opposed to the functioning of already built ones and the emergence of new facilities of this type. The monitoring of local protests concerning fur farms is systematically conducted by the Otwarte Klatki Association. In 2012-2017, 141 cases of residents' objections were noted.

As in one of the studies, Mikolaj Iwanski (economist), the Supreme Chamber of Control, after the inspections in 2011 and 2014, prepared crushing reports for owners and managers of fur farms. In the document from 2011 regarding the area of the Wielkopolskie voivodship, we find a number of data and conclusions indicating very serious negligence on the part of veterinary services, which practically did not fulfill the task of supervising fur farms. Only one of the 29 farms inspected by the NIK met simultaneously the requirements of environmental protection, veterinary and construction. Almost half of the farms inspected at that time (48%) operated on facilities illegally built or used contrary to their purpose. 35% showed significant deficiencies in meeting veterinary requirements.

Very similar conclusions are drawn from the report of the Supreme Audit Office issued in 2014. The audit covered the years 2011-2013. The document concerns the whole animal breeding, which breeding fur animals is only a small niche. The applications confirm the findings of the previously cited document - government administration bodies are not able to provide proper veterinary and sanitary supervision and do not have reliable data at such an elementary level as the numbers of the farms themselves. With respect to fur farms, 20 controlled facilities in 15 were found to be, for example, a violation of the provisions of the Water Law Act, which means a direct threat to groundwater pollution.

Before the emergence of foreign investments in the fur farming, changes have been made in Poland that have reduced the requirements for such plants. Only after some time the Ministry of the Environment realized that eg dripping American mink farms, reserves and protected areas wreak havoc, and the share of refugees in the population of this species in some areas of north-western Poland is around 40%.

Most of the opponents

In a survey conducted by CBOS in February this year as many as 59% of the country's inhabitants supported the ban on breeding animals for fur (the answers are definitely supportive and I am rather supportive), and 31% were against the ban (in total, I am definitely against and rather against); 10% of respondents answered it difficult to say. In other national opinion polls, the differences between supporters and opponents of the ban on breeding animals for fur were different, but in all the cases known to me, the number of supporters of the ban was definitely outweighed by the number of opponents of the ban on this type of farming. Also in local research - which I conducted - in municipalities where there are many fur farms, the opponents of this type of farming dominate her supporters.

Finally, it must be stated that farms cause a number of ailments due to the uncontrolled development of fur animal farms in our country. The fur industry, headed by such potentates as NAFA or Van Ansam Group, uses externalizing costs that are not covered by companies, but are passed on to the whole society and / or the natural environment. The state can not simultaneously enforce existing regulations, and often decides to liberalize them under the dictation of breeders.

Today, it is difficult to estimate how large the externalised costs are. Odor and plagic quantities of insects reproducing on farms, cause that the quality of life of residents in the vicinity of this type of plants has been seriously compromised. Some say, for example, that the market prices of their properties (flats, farms) are, on the average, 30-40% lower. Therefore, they can not sell their possessions without losses and move - even if they want to. This causes waves of indignation and social protests.

Finally, the last, but not least, the farm animals are kept in scandalous conditions, they suffer only to be gassed and used for coverings, the price of which ranges from a dozen to several dozen thousand zlotys on average.

On the other hand, the fur industry seeks political support among the far-right MPs and priest Rydzyk, claiming that its liquidation will have a negative impact on the Polish economy and local labor markets. Argument clearly missing and exaggerated. Missing, because the entire mink farm in Poland is de facto subordinated to the interests of international corporations. Exaggerated, because directly employed on farms about 3-4 thousand. employees, often on "junk" contracts and at the lowest possible rates. Increasingly, it is used on migrant farms and migrant workers from the East - from Ukraine and Belarus.

The question, of course, is whether the right-wing PiS government will decide to liquidate the farms or whether it will "withdraw from cancer". The pro-patriotic protest organized in Warsaw is to "help" him to make the right decision. It's worth considering whether to take part in it.

The text will be punished in the nearest 9th issue of the A-Tak journal

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