Bulgarian Law Banning Mink Farms in the Country is Upheld

Administrative Court Sofia – city rejected the mink farm’s appeal against the Order issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to ban the import and breeding of the “American mink” in Bulgaria. The court’s decision can be appealed to YOU.

Administrative court of Sofia – city came out with a decision in the mink case. The court accepted the appeal of the company “Pharmpro” as groundless. Ltd., the only active mink fur farm owned by businessman Ivan Angelov-Pileto. The legal process was started in 2022, a few months after the then Minister of Environment and Water issued an Order to ban the importation and breeding of the species “American Mink”. The reason for the order is the danger this invasive non-native species poses to biodiversity.

American mink (the species farmed for valuable furs) can negatively impact native animal species and even drive some of them to extinction. Behind this opinion stand more than 100 scientists and experts who participated with submitted opinions in support of the Order on the ban on the import and breeding of the species “American mink”. Their support for the ban was strongly expressed during the course of the case.

The mink fur farm near the village of Majerito, Stara Zagora, has a breeding capacity of about 130,000 minks of the “American mink” species. Over the years of operation of the farm, official reports have been filed about over 100 animals escaping from it. The number of unrecorded mink escapes is unknown. Complaints of mink attacks on domestic animals are a common problem that plagues the population living near the farm. There are shots of minks being run over by cars on the road, as well as of animals of this species walking around the center of Stara Zagora. The invasive mammal was also spotted in the river near the town of Galabovo, 30 km from the farm.

In addition to endangering biodiversity, fur farms have drawn public ire for the cruel conditions in which the animals are raised and killed. Minks are kept in narrow and dirty wire cages, and to preserve the integrity of their skins they are killed in gas chambers. In 2021, during an inspection of the mink farm near the village of Majerito, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food found in a report a number of biosecurity violations, unsatisfactory hygienic conditions, decomposing carcasses of dead animals, as well as mink that escaped from their cages.

“We welcome the completely fair decision of the court to reject the appeal of the mink breeders. In recent years, scientists have proven that the invasive nature of the “American Mink” is a serious threat to local biodiversity. In addition, the American mink is the species in which significant susceptibility to infection with various zoonoses is noted. Last year, an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred among the minks on the farm near Stara Zagora. Recently, bird flu has become more common in mink farms. Similar outbreaks in other countries have caused fur farms to be closed. And along with that, an animal-cruel and completely unnecessary activity is being stopped,” said Petya Altimirska, chairman of the association KAŽI, which since 2017 has been fighting for the banning of fur farms in Bulgaria.

Mine breeders have the right to appeal the decision within 14 days of its announcement before the SAC (Supreme Administrative Court). A possible loss in the second instance would practically end the existence of mink farms in our country.