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