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The Greek "spring" of furriery

12 April 2014 / 15:04:14  GRReporter
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Minks are carnivorous predators which are particularly curious and active. They are excellent swimmers, diving with great dexterity, reaching up to a depth of 5 m. They nest in tunnels, which can reach up to 4 km in length, made in soil near water. They feed on small animals such as frogs, fish and rodents. They also support the economy of Western Macedonia.

5 years ago, the number of mink farms in the region was 35 and it now exceeds 100 (45 in the Kastoria region, 50 in the Kozani region, 8 in the Grevena region and 2 in the Florina region). From 350,000 furs in 2011, production today exceeds 3 million furs annually. 1,100 companies related to furriery operate in Western Macedonia, employing about 60% -70% of the population of Kastoria. 99% of their products are exported, mainly to Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and China. Exports amount to 300-400 million euro per year.

"Our production is equal to that of the giant - China," said Secretary General of the Association of Fur Producers of Kastoria Faedon Giatas. "There are only two centres for fur production in the world: our region and China. Kastoria and Siatista buy 7-8% of the world's fur production, and 10-12% of the world production of finished leather garments is produced here."

The Greek "spring" of furriery has not come by accident. In recent years, the industry’s coordinated efforts made a number of favourable steps, such as the inclusion of farm animals farmed for their fur in livestock companies, the possibility of including the keeping of animals for their fur in investment projects with community or national support, simplified licensing of new facilities and the recent abolition of the 10% luxury tax on domestically produced fur goods sold wholesale in the country among companies. According to Giatas, there has been a 180% increase in the price of animal furs in recent years in the international exchange for furs, so the profit margin is increasing.

This is a wonderful success story, for anyone who can ignore the fact that about three million animals are killed annually (mostly by gas) for the purpose. As noted in a letter to the respective ministers and the movement for the abolition of fur trade and the citizens' initiative “Kastoria says ‘no’ to fur”, keeping animals for their fur is not classical livestock farming, since it does not produce food but luxury goods. "Today, fur is no longer used in order to keep people warm, but as a decorative detail in clothing and shoes for fashion reasons. Residents of cold areas, even climbers choose clothes produced with new technologies, which are much warmer, more practical and lighter."

A barbaric practice

According to opponents of furriery, breeding and killing of animals for their fur is an extremely cruel practice which should be abolished immediately. "These animals live a very short and completely unnatural life, closed in small metal cages, only in order to be killed when their skin is in suitable condition. Minks are still wild animals which have not been adapted to life in closed farms yet (...). The conditions in which these animals are forced to live are so painful that they often go insane because of the closed space and resort to cannibalism or even eat their own limbs. "It is noted that keeping animals for their fur is prohibited in many countries, such as Austria and the United Kingdom.

Producers contest and claim that they comply with the necessary requirements for breeding conditions specified by the International Fur Federation. "We do much more in comparison to others who farm chickens, sheep or other animals."

Tags: furriery mink farms Kastoria West Macedonia
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