Animal welfare standards for mink farming

15 October 2012

E-009246-12

Dan Jørgensen (S&D)

 

Question

Denmark produces a large number of mink. Unfortunately, the press has often reported on cases in which the animals are not treated properly in accordance with adequate animal welfare standards.

Is the Commission aware of these problems with mink farming in Denmark?

When did the Commission last inspect a Danish mink farm?

In my opinion it is not only necessary to act against breeders who are already breaching general animal welfare legislation by neglecting their animals. I also believe that the rules on mink farming generally need to be tightened up. Does the Commission agree?

 

Answer given by Mr Šefčovič on behalf of the Commission

28 November 2012

The Commission is aware of the allegations made in the press regarding mink farming.

Member States are primarily responsible for ensuring that EU welfare legislation on fur animals, including mink, is implemented. They have to report annually to the Commission on the results of the welfare inspections they carried out in fur farms as required by Commission Decision 2006/778/EC(1). In 2012, the Danish authorities stated in their report to the Commission that in 2011 they focused again their attention on the welfare of mink and visited around 800 fur animal holdings (most of them mink holdings) out of 1 600. 565 of these inspected holdings were compliant with welfare legislation, 188 received a warning notice, 75 received an enforcement notice and 10 were reported to the police. It appears therefore that the Danish authorities are taking the necessary actions to implement EU welfare legislation on fur animals in mink farms.

The last audit which included a visit in a Danish mink farm was carried out by Commission services in 2006(2) and covered the aspects of killing.

As stated in the EU strategy on the protection of animals 2012-2015(3), the Commission considers that enforcement of the existing rules on animal welfare is the priority. The strategy will also aim at developing a holistic approach so that common underlying drivers for poor welfare in the EU will be addressed and reach all animals concerned. The priority for the Commission, for the time being, is to work towards improving the understanding of animal welfare among farmers through increased competence and technical assistance.

(1) OJ L 314, 15.11.2006.
(2) http://ec.europa.eu/food/fvo/rep_details_en.cfm?rep_id=1521.
(3) COM(2012) 6 final http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/actionplan/actionplan_en.htm

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