Bulgaria has banned the breeding and importing of American Minks, which will lead to the closure of Bulgaria’s last remaining mink fur farm, in the village of Madjerito near Stara Zagora, where 25,000 female minks have been bred. However, this decision was not based on the cruelty of mink farming, but concerns over animals escaping from fur farms and damaging native ecosystems. The legislation does not cover other species commonly farmed for their fur, such as foxes, chinchillas, and raccoon dogs.
The ban is based on the Biological Diversity Act (as amended in 2016), which prohibits “the import and breeding of non-native animal, plant and fungal species, including subspecies and varieties, if their accidental release into the wild will endanger the existence of native species of wild flora, fauna and mycota.”
The ban is the result of a public consultation, which saw 4,000 out of the 4,500 total submissions supporting the measure. Borislav Sandov, the Deputy Prime Minister for Climate Policy and Minister of Environment and Water, said, “After the public discussion and the opinions on all the comments received, I signed the final order for this ban…The conditions at the only farm in Bulgaria are unfavourable and it has allowed minks to enter wildlife areas in recent years and cause damage.”
The American mink (Neovison vison) is included in the list of 100 most dangerous invasive alien species in Europe and is a priority invasive alien species for Bulgaria — which although is an unfair characterisation has helped to secure the ban of mink farms. Many EU countries have already banned mink farming (France being the latest) and other types of farming for fur, but the European Citizens’ Initiative Fur Free Europe has called for a total ban of all fur farms and all fur products from the European market (there is a petition for this purpose).