Intensive fur farms produce tons of manure, producing greenhouse emissions, nutrients flows, loss of biodiverstiy and attracting armies of flies. Waste runoff from intensive fur factory farms is a major pollution problem, contaminating soil and waterways.
Protests of rural communities against the negative impact of fur factory farms on their regions are common around the globe. Complaints by local residents centre on issues as smell, flies, noise and water pollution, disrupting rural life and lowering property values and tourism revenues.
To increase low-cost production, the fur industry targets countries where environmental regulations are weak and enforcement is less strict. Johan Kaarens, one of the first mink breeders to invest in Poland in 2000, typically said:
‘People accept you here. In The Netherlands you are starting to feel more and more like a criminal.’
Foreign investors set out to exploit countries with poor economies, such as Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, by building intensive fur factory farms in rural areas, degrading local ecosystems and village life.
Over 90% of fur produced in Poland is exported to foreign markets. Barbara Skubiszewska, resident of Bronowice, a rural village where one of Europe’a largest mink fur farms was built in 2015, said:
‘Polish women can’t afford these coats. What we can afford, though, is to smell the stench coming from the farm, and to put up with flies.’