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, Bulgaria and Lithuania, by building intensive fur factory farms in rural areas, degrading local ecosystems and village life.