The breeding of mink for their fur in Japan is over now that the country's last remaining fur farm in Niigata has shut down.


The breeding of mink for their fur in Japan is over now that the country's last remaining fur farm in Niigata has shut down.


Japan, 29 November 2016 -

In recent years the Otsuka mink farm was repeatedly reported by the ‘Animal Rights Center Japan’ for operating without a license and violating the Japanese Invasive Alien Species Act of 2006.

Now the farm has ended its operations, Japan joins a growing number of countries that are leaving fur farming behind.

Since Japan’s Invasive Alien Species Act came into force in 2006 it became illegal to build new mink fur farms in the country. As a result of the damage to biodiversity caused by escaped American mink from fur farms, the Invasive Alien Species Act effectively ended the breeding of the non-native species American mink, raccoon and coypu – except for scientific or educational reasons.

The closure of the Otsuka mink farm puts a complete end to Japanese mink fur production as it was the only remaining fur farm in the country.

In recent years the unlicensed Otsuka farm in Niigata had received numerous warnings by the Ministry of Environment for violating both the Invasive Alien Species Act and the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals. In 2015, after documenting serious welfare issues and spotting escaped mink, Animal Rights Center Japan again reported the illegal activity of the farm.

As a result of the latest warning, the mink farmer decided to end its operations. He concluded that, due to the decreased consumer demand and the high building costs needed to meet the licensing requirements his farm was no longer economically viable.


[Above: Mink on a Japanese fur farm, 2014]


The popularity of fur clothing has significantly decreased in Japan due to growing consumer awareness and the switch of demand to more ethically made products. Since its peak in 2006 fur import figures have dropped a staggering 80% in Japan.

The end of Japanese fur production is a huge victory for animals and in line with international developments. Due to ethical, environmental and welfare concerns an increasing number of countries are turning their back on fur farming. Since 2000 eight European countries have decided to outright ban fur farming and currently three more countries in Europe are having parliamentary debates to end fur farming. Fur farming bans are in line with the public interest since the majority of society opposes the breeding and killing of animals for a non-essential luxury item as fur.

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