A ban on mink farming would cost the government over €500m in compensation for breeders, according to new figures from the agricultural research institute LEI.
Parliament is currently debating draft legislation which would phase out mink farming over a 10-year period without compensation for farmers.
The Netherlands farms more mink than any other country, apart from China and Denmark. The country has 164 mink farms, producing some five million pelts a year.
Although the number of farms has remained constant, the number of breeding animals has gone up 40% over the past four years, LEI says. A pelt will sell on the open market for around €31.
The bill was introduced by the opposition Socialist Party and government coalition partner Labour in October. The coalition’s orthodox Christian party, ChristenUnie, is also in favour of a ban but wants breeders to get compensation. The anti-immigration PVV takes the same line.
But the government’s leading Christian Democrat (CDA) party is opposed to a ban, arguing production would simply transfer to countries which are not so concerned about animal welfare.
The size of the compensation package is an added reason not to agree to a ban, CDA MP Ger Koopmans told the AD newspaper.
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