Near Bagnoles de l’Orne Normandy, the last mink farm in France is about to close

In September 2019, we met the creator Alain Desvaux. (©The Free Publisher file photo)

Enacted on November 30, 2021, the law aimed at “combating mistreatment of animals and strengthening the bond between animals and humans” was published in the Official Gazette of 1er December 2021.

In particular, the creation of american mink and other wild species for their fur (the European mink is already protected).

“Given the context of the last few months, we were expecting a little”, says Guy Flechardin front of Flechard Dairy on which the mink farm depends, created in 1987 in a place called Etre-Guérin in La Chapelle-d’Andaine, a historic town in the Rives d’Andaine.

34 years of activity

“At the time, we still had a poultry activity and we sent the by-products from the slaughterhouse to a swine farm that had to be closed due to inconvenience to the neighborhood,” says Guy Fléchard. We therefore looked for another solution to add value to these by-products, which is why they have been used ever since to feed the American mink of our breeding.”

For the record, the beginnings of breeding American mink for their fur in France date back to 1926. In the 1960s, the national territory had about 300 mink breeding farms (source national center of fur information).

In La Chapelle-d’Andaine, breeder Alain Desvaux produced up to 25,000 hides a year.

They were quality products, offered for sale on the stock exchange, destined for northern countries, such as Finland and Denmark.

Guy Flechard

on display

But in recent years, these farms have been highlighted on several occasions. Animalist movements questioned them, denouncing mistreatment.

Videos: currently on Actu

Thus, in September 2019, the One Voice association broadcast two videos “to alert the public about the breeding conditions of the American mink” in France and, in particular, in Orne. A year later, Barbara Pompili, Minister for Ecological Transition, announced the end of breeding American mink for their fur by 2025.

Shortly after, in the fall of 2020, the profession was once again in the crosshairs with suspicions of transmission of the covid virus to minks.

“Our breeding respected the Welfur label, which three years ago led us to halve our activity with larger cages so that the animals have more space”, recalls Guy Fléchard. Regarding covid, the veterinary exams showed that we did not have sick animals.

a past age

Since then, things have accelerated. Of the last four farms in France, three have ceased their activities. And last October, the Senate’s decision to lift the deadline for the ban was the final ax to the creation of La Chapelle-d’Andaine.

“It’s a shame for the people who have invested in this site for over 30 years, regrets Guy Fléchard. But is like that. It’s a bygone era. The last seasonal slaughter is underway and we will close by the end of the year. The breeder will be reclassified in our dairy. Let’s think about what we’re going to do with the buildings.”

If this creation only represented a small part of the turnover of the Fléchard company (€300,000 out of €250 million), for all this the manager will demand financial compensation. “We are currently in discussions with state representatives to assess the damage and cost of stopping our activity”, concludes Guy Fléchard.

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