September 20, 2015 - Two studies from Dutch consultancy bureau CE Delft about the environmental impact of mink farming are based on a number of major misassumptions. The studies are commissioned by three animal rights groups and not peer-reviewed. This comprehensive analysis proves the CE Delft studies wrong.
Opponents to fur often cite a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) produced by CE Delft, a Dutch research consultancy. The study ‘The environmental impact of mink fur production’ found that “Compared with textiles [including polyester, cotton, wool, and polyacrylic ‘fake furs’], fur has a higher impact on 17 of the 18 environmental themes, including climate change, eutrophication and toxic emissions.”
Though the attempt assess the environmental impact of the fur sector seems genuine enough, CE Delft’s conclusions come out negative because of wrongful data input and a biased methodology. Likewise it is worth noticing that the CE Delft report is commissioned by three animal rights organisations with the political goal to ban fur farming.
CE Delft Reports distorted by wrong data input [PDF 428.7 Kb]
- The calculation on feed intake is overestimated by 57%. The CE Delft report recognises the feed intake of mink to have the single-largest environmental impact. This distorts the report’s conclusion immensely.
- Convenient to report’s purpose of discrediting the fur sector (and opposed to how life cycle analyses normally are made), this life cycle analysis ends with the production chain. Thus, the long-lasting capabilities of fur products are completely ignored. As opposed to cotton textiles which are subjects to a less environmental friendly ‘buy and throw away’-culture, fur products are easily used for 30-40 years. It yields an enormous environmental benefit when the environmental impact of a given product can be distributed over long time.
- The reports offer no environmental credit for minks’ manure, which replace highly polluting synthetic fertilizers.
- The report offer no environmental credit for mink farmers’ use of waste products from the human food production, in particular the fish- and chicken industries.
- The CE Delft report is not peer-reviewed.