Mink farm case in Rogaland to be reviewed

Mink fur farmers cage mink farm lauvåsMink are kept in small cages to satisfy the demand of the fur industry. A ban is proposed on all fur farming in Norway. Photo: Alf Ove Hansen / Scanpix

Mink farm case in Rogaland involving the FSA to be reviewed

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (FSA) admits that the confidence in it is weakened in connection with the mink farm case in Sandnes. It, therefore, orders an external investigation.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority reported of malnourished animals and recommended feed changes or liquidation of operations. This, in a report on a mink farm with 9,600 animals in Sandnes. The report dates from June 2018. NRK has revealed that the report is full of factual errors, which the FSA admits.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority strongly regrets what has happened. It has, furthermore, issued a rectified audit report to the mink farmer.

“The trust in the Food Safety Authority has been questioned by Members of Parliament, business organisations and the media in recent days. This is a situation we as a supervisory authority cannot live with, and we will, therefore, order an external investigation ”, acting Managing Director of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Karina Kaupang, informs.

Resignation of the Managing Director

Kaupang took over until further notice after Harald Gjein last Friday resigned due to the mink farm case.

“This is a serious situation for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and we take it seriously. We are not aware of cases similar to the one in Rogaland. The mistrust that has emerged means, however, that we need an external investigation in selected areas of our supervision,” Kaupang continues.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has already started its own review of the supervision of the fur farmer. Additionally, an investigation group is set up, effective immediately, to map out the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s use of animal welfare committees. The guidelines for conducting audits will be reviewed as well.

“The population must have confidence in that we do our job properly. I know that our inspectors work hard every day to fulfil our mission in the best possible way,” Kaupang maintains.


Police investigation of the mink farm case

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s Regional Director Region South & West, as well as two managers in South Rogaland, Sirdal and Flekkefjord, have temporarily stepped down from their leadership roles while internal investigations are ongoing.

The Public Prosecutor in Rogaland has decided that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority will be investigated in the case. This was made known last week. The farmer filed a report against the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, which was originally shelved. The responsibility for the case has been transferred to Haugesund Police, according to Stavanger Aftenblad.

The reason for this is that one of the inspectors involved has previously been employed by the police in southern Rogaland.

Proposal from the Progress Party rejected

The case has triggered debate about the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s role, expertise and credibility. County Leader of the Progress Party (Frp) in Rogaland, Margrete Dysjaland, argues that farmers should be able to deny the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s representatives access to their farm. They should be able to request replacements if they find that the inspectors don’t possess the required professional competence.

Minister of Agriculture, Olaug Bollestad (KrF) – who herself is a fur farmer – axed the proposal before the ink was dry.

“I think it is totally out of the question that we refuse the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to perform an inspection to see whether all animals are faring well,” Bollestad tells VG.

Bollestad must explain herself

The leader of the Industry Committee of the Norwegian Parliament, Geir Pollestad (Centre Party), demands that Bollestad explain herself ASAP before Parliament on the matter. One of his demands is that she must order an external audit, which the authority thus has done on its own accord.

It is, for the time being, unclear whether the investigation will address if the case in Sandnes is one of a kind, as Pollestad demands.

The case is particularly piquant as the government recently presented a proposal on how the fur farming industry should be terminated, even though the Liberals is the lone swallow among the four government parties that want this to happen.

Read Also: Fur farmers plead to stay in business.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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