There are currently five fur-breeding factories in Latvia, with around 140,000 mink. The head of the office of the Minister of Agriculture, Jānis Eglīts, told Latvian radio that farms contribute greatly to the Latvian economy.
“Every sector that gives us jobs, tax revenues, consumes local production, I think that’s quite important in the context of Latvia. Of course we don’t eat mink, of course the industry exports products, but that doesn’t make it any less important, “Eglīts said.
In Latvia, a bill on the ban on fur farming was submitted to the Saeima in September last year, signed by MPs from different factions. The ban could be imposed in 2026.
In each of the countries banning fur farming, governments are choosing to go their own way: either companies get a transition period when they have to go out of business, or they pay compensation for it. instant stop of their activities.
Eglīts said the bill banning fur farming had already been discussed during the previous Saeima, and he decided that this sector has a place in the Latvian economy. At present, the situation is different, with mink farms being a risk of Covid-19.
“Any transition period gives entrepreneurs time to refocus their activities and do something else. Any transitional period reduces the possibilities for compensation. For the moment, we have offered compensation because the decision came immediately, ”said the spokesperson for the ministry.
Sandra Vilciņa, representative of the Latvian Animal Breeders Association, said it was difficult to predict the future of Latvian fur farming. Asked what path Latvia could potentially take – compensating or setting a transition period if fur animals were to be bred – Sandra Vilniva replied:
“We are frustrated with either of these routes because we want to work and we want to develop the industry. We want to continue, without compensation and without bans. And if this area is closed, there has to be a rationale and clear wording: why? What will this bring to the Latvian economy and what the Latvian economy will lose if this sector is eliminated. “
The co-founder of the non-governmental organization “Animal Freedom”, animal rights activist Katrīna Krīgere, said fur herders had no future in Latvia or elsewhere in Europe. Speaking from the experience of other countries, Krīgere said that each country has chosen its own model. The transitional compensation period has been applied by Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Hungary and Serbia. At the same time, in Italy, which plans to ban the breeding of fur animals from the middle of this year, companies in this sector will be compensated.
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