LITHUANIA – 17 SEPTEMBER 2016 – A recent investigation on a Lithuanian mink farm in August revealed serious violations of environmental and animal welfare laws. The undercover footage, that was conducted by Lithuanian Fur Free Alliance member Open Cages in August, showed gravely injured animals, dead animals burned on trash piles and improperly handled manure. Gabrielė Vaitkevičiūtė, the head of the Lithuanian branch of Open Cages, says:
‘Probably the most shocking finding is that the State Food and Veterinary Service is not checking farms as often as they claim and that they apparently warn farmers prior to every inspection. They are supposed to regularly inspect farms and make sure animal welfare standards are implemented. As they weren’t, it is not entirely surprising that injured animals were not being treated, and animals with stereotypy were not taken care of as the law prescribes’
Watch the undercover footage here:
The farm was inspected by both the regional Food and Veterinary Service and the Environmental Protection Department. The Environmental Protection Department confirmed the mink farm was in violation of the law, while the Veterinary Service workers were not willing to comment on the inspection at all. Gabrielė Vaitkevičiūtė says:
‘The investigated farm has about 30 000 minks. Two Veterinary Inspection officers spent less than 2 hours inside, that means less than half of the second could be spent inspecting one animal. We seriously question the quality of such inspection, mainly because to observe a stereotypy it takes more than half of the second and injured animals usually might try to hide their wounds. Also, we know for sure that some cages in the farm were less than 30 cm in width which is illegal and to measure two sheds with these cages would also take them a lot of time’
The abuses revealed by the undercover investigation:
– Sick animals are not treated.
When asked, what should be done about a seriously injured animal the worker was told that there is nothing to be done about it. A week later the mink died.
– Dead animals are burned with trash.
The farm had already paid a fine for this type of infringement some time ago but it seems that fines are not having any effect. The fur breeders seem to knowingly continue violating the law.
– Manure is not properly taken care of.
Manure under the cages formed cesspools after some rainy days. This is not allowed according to 2 different laws, not to mention it is an ideal environment for diseases to spread.
– Workers are not qualified to work with minks.
We have recorded one worker hitting a mink because she wanted to take its dead counterpart out of the cage. Workers seem to not know anything about stereotypy; moreover, they seem to neither know nor care that the mink breeding regulations require to adjust the conditions for animals with stereotypy so that their welfare is improved.
– Minks have been noted to escape cages and sometimes even get out of the farm territory.
Canadian mink is an invasive species in Lithuania and may pose a threat to the local ecosystem. We have documented at least two minks escaping the territory of the farm during 10 days of filming. There were many more who escaped cages during that time.
Please sign the online petition for a fur farming ban in Lithuania.