Erlandsson promised swift measures to curb the abuse, but opposition to the practice of mink farming continued to grow.
“This can not be allowed to happen. That which we have seen on the pictures is not consistent with Swedish law,” said Eskil Erlandsson to news agency TT, after a hastily arranged meeting with the Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket).
The board has been given the task of developing a plan to stop the neglect and to establish checks to ensure an improvement of animal protection. The board will also compile a report of current research.
Erlandsson has promised more funds for animal protection controls, so that transparency can work more efficiently.
The pictures, recorded over the past 18 months by the The Animal Rights Alliance (Djurrättsalliansen) and showing mink that have bitten each other to death and cages containing the bodies of dead animals, have received an angry reaction.
Left Party leader Lars Ohly, in a debate article in Aftonbladet, demanded swift measures to tackle the situation, or Eskil Erlandsson’s resignation.
The Animal Rights Alliance has called for mink farming to be banned.
“We argue that all mink farmers are breaking animal welfare laws and that the regulations are not compatible with our animal welfare laws. Given that these breaches of the law have been allowed to continue for 22 years, we argue that this is no longer a case for police and animal welfare inspectors, but for politicians,” said Lina Flyren, spokeswoman for Djurrättsalliansen.
“We argue that rearing [minks] is morally abhorrent and should be banned immediately,” she said.
Flyren said the organization had not yet decided whether to push for prosecution of the offending mink farmers:
“This is more a political question than a matter for the police. If you have such serious breaches of the animal protection laws at 20 percent of mink farms, then it’s pretty representative of mink farms in general. We want a ban – that’s all we’re going to argue for,” she said.
The activists have said they will not cooperate with legal investigations into their break-ins at Swedish mink farms.
“We admit that we did it, but we won’t reveal the identities of our research teams. We view it as vital to keep that to ourselves,” she said.