There are about a thousand fur farms in Finland. They mainly operate as family-run companies and almost all of them are located in Ostrobothnia. Finland is the world’s leading breeder of foxes and a significant breeder of minks. In addition, a considerable number of Finnraccoons are bred on Finnish farms.

Fur production is an agricultural production sector that obtains its income almost completely from exports. Fur market is sensitive to global economic fluctuations and the net annual export income may vary remarkably. It causes difficulties to farmers especially when new investments are planned.

Research is international and is carried out together with the industry and Nordic and European cooperation parties. Results create a basis for profitable and ethical fur animal production.

Towards the improved animals welfare and minor negative environmental effects

Fur research is targeted at the welfare of production animals and the environmental effects of production in a versatile manner.

By-products obtained from the food processing industry are recycled and utilized as raw materials in fur animals feed processing. Balanced rations that meet the nutritional needs of animals constitutes basis for animal welfare. In addition, the aim is to construct the breeding environment in such a way that it supports species-specific behaviour.

Welfare status of farmed animals is often criticised. Fur production has a monitoring and quality assurance system which can validate animal welfare status on farm-level. Operations model has created in cooperation with international research organisations and fur farmers. A health care and animal breeding programme is designed to prevent hereditary defects and illnesses.

Manure can cause negative environmental impacts but it can processed to offer nutrients and energy. These options are on focus in next projects.