Mink brutally mistreated on Polish fur farm owned by global industry leader
In Animal welfare,Fur Farming,Recent News,Violations

Mink brutally mistreated on Polish fur farm owned by global industry leader

WARSAW, 24 April 2024 — Disturbing footage captured at a mink farm in Poland reveals brutal animal cruelty, including the throwing and striking of animals against wooden and metal components of cages. The farm is owned by the Dutch Van Ansem family who oversee one of Poland’s largest mink farms, with additional operations in Latvia, Romania, and the USA.

The investigation was conducted by our Polish member organisation Otwarte Klatki, who worked with an undercover investigator employed at the farm for five weeks. The collected footage shows workers engaging in brutal treatment of the animals: mink being struck on their heads and bodies with bare hands, fists, and clubs, as well as being forcibly hit against metal and wooden parts of the cages, and even trampled upon. Additionally, workers were observed grabbing the animals by their tails, sometimes twisting them, before forcibly hurling the minks into cages or transport carts. The cages were frequently found to be filthy and covered in fur, with many mink exhibiting severe bleeding.

Watch the investigation video HERE

Bogna Wiltowska, Director of Investigations at Otwarte Klatki, stated:

“The brutal treatment of animals on fur farms is not an isolated incident, but rather a systemic issue. This is not the first time when such cruel practices come to light. This time, we have documented violence against animals on a farm belonging to the influential Van Ansem family, which purportedly upholds high standards of animal welfare, as evidenced by certifications like WelFur. However, the reality depicted in numerous recordings from the farm speaks otherwise”.

The Van Ansems, a Dutch family with a history of mink farming dating back to the 1960s, established their first farm in Poland as early as 1991. Since then, they have expanded their operations to include farms in Romania, the USA, and Latvia. The farms owned by the Van Ansems are among the largest in Poland, with each farm housing tens of thousands to several hundred thousand mink on average.

Poland is currently the biggest fur producer in Europe and the second-largest in the world – after China. Despite overwhelming support from the majority of Poles for a fur ban, previous efforts to abolish fur farming in the country have been thwarted by the fur lobby. However, a new proposal for a fur ban bill is set to be introduced in the coming weeks, which includes a transitional period of five years and provisions for compensation to farmers. Otwarte Klatki anticipates that the findings of this investigation will serve as a decisive catalyst for the implementation of a fur farming ban in Poland.

Animal welfare concerns have already led 20 European countries to ban the cruel practice of fur farming. It’s time for Poland to join the 21st century and end this immoral and outdated practice.

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Mink brutally mistreated on Polish fur farm owned by global industry leader