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Confederation MP Witold Tumanowicz: fur farms are a large part of the Polish economy. We checked, it's not true

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According to Witold Tumanowicz, fur farms are “a really large part of the Polish economy.” We analyzed the data. The MP is wrong.

On Friday, June 14, it was submitted to the Sejm draft amendment to the Animal Rights Protection Act, which concerns the introduction of a ban on breeding and breeding animals for fur. The group of applicants' MPs (from the Civic Coalition, Poland 2050-Third Way and the Left) is represented in this matter by a Green MP Małgorzata Tracz. The next day, June 15, in “Breakfast in Trójka” a question was asked by a listener about breeding animals for fur. In connection with this, the interviewer Renata Grochal asked which party would support this project. This will was expressed by Aleksandra Leo (Poland 2050), Wanda Nowicka (Left) and Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz (Civic Coalition).

Anna Gembicka (Law and Justice) and Błażej Poboży (Chancellery of the President) were skeptical about the matter. However, Confederation MP Witold Tumanowicz expressed his opposition. “We will, of course, be against it because we believe that it is a really large part of the Polish economy” – he declared. After this sentence, MP Nowicka interjected and added: “0.3 percent”.

In response, Tumanowicz insisted: “No, but there are actually a lot of people employed in this matter,” to which MP Leo responded by asking: “0.3 percent? Is that a lot?” Tumanowicz replied: “Yes, quite a lot. The truth is that many people are simply employed in this branch of the economy and it is simply commercial freedom.”

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Is the fur industry really “a large part of the Polish economy”, as the Confederation MP claims? We checked the data.

PiS proposed, then withdrew

First of all, let us recall that during the two terms of office of the United Right government, PiS twice announced the introduction of legal changes that would enable, among others, introducing a ban on fur farming. For the first time – in November 2017 – when it was submitted to the Sejm parliamentary project amendment to the Animal Protection Act, which included, among others, a ban on breeding and breeding fur animals for the purpose of obtaining fur. This project was signed by, among others: PiS president Jarosław Kaczyński. The draft ban did not even reach the first reading in the Sejm, and work on the amendment was suspended. Three years later, in 2020, Kaczyński announced the so-called “five for animals”, that is bill assuming, among others, ban on breeding fur animals. The project sparked protests from farmers. In September, in the Sejm – despite party discipline – 15 PiS MPs voted against the project, for which they were suspended as party members. Among them was the then Minister of Agriculture, Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, who eventually left his position. The Senate later introduced amendments to the amendment, but they were not put to a vote in the Sejm. In November 2020, all fifteen PiS MPs, including Ardanowski, had their rights as party members restored. Since then, the Law and Justice club has not returned to the topic of changes to the Animal Protection Act.

READ MORE: Promises minus. “Heart for Animals” lost to the fur lobby

How many farms? How many employees? What profits?

What are the numbers like in terms of fur farms and breeding such animals in Poland? According to information Polish Press Agency, the latest official data from the Polish government comes from 2021, when the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was obliged to test minks for SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. Last year, approximately 5.5 million minks were born on farms in Poland, 21 thousand foxes and 4.7 thousand raccoon dogs. On August 3, 2021, in response to a parliamentary interpellation, the ministry informed that in 2020, approximately 6.3 million minks were kept in Poland (as of September 10, 2020), and in 2021, the number of minks kept on farms was approximately 7 million (as of September 10, 2020). as of May 31, 2021).

On December 21, 2023, the European Commission – as a response to the European Citizens' Initiative “Fur Free Europe” – she published aggregate data that comes from fur industry organizations. They show that in 2023, 234 mink farms and 35 fox farms were active in Poland (table on page 7 report). 3.4 million minks were bred there (almost 44% of production in the EU) and 70,000 foxes (over 4% of European production, foxes are still bred in Finland).

In turn with registry Carnivorous farms of the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate from the beginning of this year show that there were 360 ​​such farms, although the operations of some of them have been suspended for several years, and some farms register animals of different species as separate farms.

What do the data look like when it comes to the share of fur farms in the Polish economy? In February 2018 PAP (here is an article on the Business Insider website) described the report “Assessment of the situation of the fur farming industry and its impact on the Polish economy“Western Center for Social and Economic Research, which shows that in Poland, fur farms produce no more than 4,000. jobs. “According to the calculations contained in the report, the Polish fur farming industry is responsible for 0.08 percent GDP and 0.16 percent Polish exports, and its share in public finances (taxes and contributions) is 0.014%. In relation to the labor market, it constitutes 0.03-0.06 percent,” it was written.

The study mentions that Polish breeders primarily emphasize the role of export in fur breeding – in 2016, according to the Central Statistical Office, its value was approximately PLN 1.3 billion. “With total exports amounting to PLN 803.5 billion, however, this is relatively little – about 0.16 percent. Even in relation to the exports of Polish agriculture only (products of animal origin and livestock – PLN 30.8 billion, products of plant origin – 19, PLN 2 billion) or the food industry (PLN 53.7 billion), fur skins do not occupy a particularly prominent place here, although they are certainly not without importance,” the report quoted.

In 2020, the portal also appointed referred to the 2018 report of the Western Center for Social and Economic Research, although he also cited other, more recent data. Showing data from the Ministry of Finance, the portal reported that tax revenues (i.e. the difference between payments to tax offices and refunds in the reporting period) to the state budget for the industry subclass 01.49.Z (“Breeding and breeding of other animals”) throughout 2019 amounted to: 10 PLN 948,068.73 from PIT and PLN 44,312.65 from CIT. It was added that the proceeds from fines and fines imposed on fur breeders throughout 2019 amounted to PLN 15,169.10.

“Breeders earned PLN 675,915,946.96 and paid PLN 10,918,925.18 in taxes, i.e. they pay taxes at the level of 1.6%. I don't know of any other industry taxed in this way,” commented Mikołaj Jastrzębski from Business Insider Polska in an interview with Business Insider Polska. International Animal Movement Foundation – Viva!. “As industrial fur farming developed over time (mainly after the introduction of the breeding ban in the Netherlands, when local mink breeders were looking for a place to relocate their farms), symbolic taxation remained. And yet fur farmers still fictitiously divide farms to avoid normal taxation.” – he described.

Ministry of Finance on January 23, 2024, in response to the parliamentary intervention referred to on page 37 of the recently submitted to the Sejm bill on the protection of animal rights, reported that according to the ministry's information regarding revenues in the years 2018-2023 from personal and legal income tax from entities for which the leading code of their business is PKD 01.49.Z (i.e. breeding and breeding of other animals, including rabbits and other fur animals) the following data was obtained:

Tax revenues from companies and people breeding animals for fur.Sejm.gov.pl

“It requires explanation that the data provided is presented on a cash basis, i.e. payments made are reduced by the amounts of overpayments and other refunds returned to taxpayers. Therefore, the cash performance may be negative, which is the case in the case of taxpayers from this industry in terms of CIT in 109 (refund of PLN 44,000). This means that this year taxpayers were refunded more tax than they paid,” added the information provided below the table, referring to the information provided in connection with a parliamentary question. .

According to data from the Ministry of Finance – obtained through access to public information by the International Movement for Animals Foundation – Viva! – on the revenues to the state budget (understood as payments minus refunds) in individual taxes for the industry subclass 01.49.Z (walking and breeding of other animals) for 2022 and the period from January to September 2023 is as follows:

Revenues for the fur industry in 2022 and 2023 from the budget and penalties and fines imposed on this industry.Sejm.gov.pl

The draft bill refers to the analysis of Jarosław Urbański, who in his study “The ban on fur farms and its socio-economic consequences” from 2021 indicated that in expert opinion prepared at the request of the Senate in 2020, employment on farms was estimated at eight thousand people, and in the entire industry at approximately 20-25 thousand. up to 30 thousand employees. “Another expert opinion prepared at the request of the Senate mentioned a maximum of 5,000 employees,” we read in the draft bill.

It is also difficult to estimate the number of foreign workers employed on Polish farms. According to data from the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy – which was made available to the International Animal Movement Foundation – Viva! in the mode of access to public information – it shows that in 2017, 550 declarations of entities were registered about their intention to entrust a foreigner with work as a fur breeder, and 93 percent were citizens of Ukraine. Representatives of the ministry pointed out, however, that employees of fur farms may also be employed as “simple workers” and then it is impossible to determine the real number of foreign workers on farms.

So it is not true that fur farms constitute a large part of our economy. As we summarized above, this industry has a small contribution to the national GDP, which can be described as a fraction of a percent.

Main photo source: Tomasz Gzell/PAP

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