: Animal ethics

Belgrade’s Make Fur History event counters fur trade’s propaganda

BELGRADE, 8 JUNE 2018 – Yesterday, the Make Fur History exhibition took place in the Serbian capital Belgrade and brought together international experts, lawmakers and media representatives to discuss the negative impact of fur farming. The exhibition, that was hosted by our local Serbian partner Sloboda za Zivotinje, exposed the scientific facts about the factory production of animal fur and stressed the urgency of maintaining the Serbian national ban on fur factory farms.

The timely exhibition follows just days after the Serbian parliament discussed a cancellation of the Serbian ban on fur farming during a “public session” on Tuesday, from which non-governmental organizations were entirely excluded. The ban was to go into full effect in 2019, after a 10-year phase-out period. However, blatant propaganda of the fur trade lobby, such as scandalous misinformation on animal welfare and fur farming legislation across Europe, has persuaded the Serbian government to consider withdrawing the 2009 law.

Maida Sabeta, campaign coordinator of the south-east European Fur Free Forever campaign, says:

“Chinchilla fur farming is a very small sector in Serbia, with sparse economic benefits and hardly any law enforcement. Maintaining this industry means supporting a gray economy or even black economy in Serbia.”

The event aimed to counter the false information spread by the fur trade by addressing animal ethics and welfare – in particular the welfare problems of chinchillas, the main species reared for fur in Serbia – the legislative progress in Europe and why the fur industry’s own welfare indicators, WelFur, are not in line with good animal welfare.

Along with local campaigners Mark Glover, board member of the Fur Free Alliance and Respect for Animals Campaign Director, took part in the roundtable panel:

“The arguments for Serbia to maintain its ban on chinchilla farming are overwhelming and the eyes of the world are now firmly focused on what happens next. It would be a tragedy if the bizarre campaign by the fur trade, based on insulting supporters of the ban, was to succeed. The Fur Free Alliance will do everything it can to ensure the ban comes into force next January 1.”

Prof. dr. Stevan Lilić, Professor of Law Faculty at the Belgrade University, stated:

“The issue of chinchilla fur farming is above all a moral issue. Serbian lawmakers are now pushing hard to overturn the law that was passed to ban this practice in 2009. Their motivation to cancelling the 2009 legislation is entirely unjustified.”

The Make Fur History exhibition was launched in the European Parliament in January this year and is meant to supply lawmakers with scientific evidence about the negative impact of fur farming on animals, the environment and local communities and the urgency for more national bans.

NGO’s denied access to Serbian public session on fur farming ban

BELGRADE, 4 JUNE 2018 – Fur industry groups have upped their lobbying of the Serbian government to debate a cancelation of the Serbian fur farming ban in a public session scheduled for tomorrow, June 5. Due to heavy pressure and a campaign of misinformation of the fur lobby, the fur farming ban – that should go into effect in 2019 – is now at a severe risk. By denying all animal protection organisations access to the public session, the Serbian government is shockingly undermining the principles of democracy.

With a 10-year phase-out period, Serbian fur farmers have been given the opportunity to transition to a more economically stable and sustainable industry. With less than one year left before the transitional period runs out, any change to the previously agreed upon legislation would raise serious questions regarding the Serbian legislative process.

The Fur Free Alliance urges the Serbian government to stay true to its legislative commitment to ban the farming of animals for their fur, and save sentient beings from a cruel life and death. Read our full letter to the Serbian government.

Chinchillas are they only animals kept for fur in Serbia. The intense battery cage system used on fur farms deprives chinchillas from the opportunity to express their natural behaviour – such as running and jumping – and causes severe welfare problems. International studies have shown behavioral disorders, such as stereotypies, pelt-biting and infant mortality, are highly common on chinchilla fur farms. Learn more about welfare problems on chinchilla fur farms.

The public session about the fur farming ban is scheduled just two days prior to the Make Fur History expo, that will take place in Belgrade on Thursday, June 7. The exhibition – that was launched in the European Parliament on January 23 and is now touring Europe – invites lawmakers and stakeholders to discuss the negative impact of fur farming on animals, the environment and local communities and shows the urgency for more national bans.

 

Dutch bank Rabobank cuts ties with fur industry

11 MAY 2018 – The Dutch bank Rabobank, a global leader in agriculture financing, has announced to end its facilitation of the fur industry. The move is part of a new sustainability framework policy that was published last week and sets out the bank’s renewed standards on livestock farming and animal welfare issues.

Cutting ties with the fur industry is entirely consistent with a bank that is headquartered in The Netherlands – a country that has banned and is currently phasing out fur farming – and the global shift away from the cruel and polluting practice of fur farming.

The new sustainability policy lists the fur industry as an excluded sector that does not ‘fit into the Rabobank’s profile’ and explicitly states the bank is now precluded from: “Taking on new clients involved in fur industries, or expanding existing relationships with clients involved in fur activities”. By adopting this policy now, the bank will also be able to refuse financing Dutch fur farmers seeking to expand or move their activities to other countries.

Furthermore, the document lists angora wool and traditional foie gras production as excluded activities and makes a number of forward-thinking animal welfare commitments, particularly with regard to cage-free production for laying hens and pigs. Read the Rabobank’s full Sustainability Framework Policy.

With the decision to drop its support for the fur industry the Rabobank follows in the footsteps of Dutch banks ING and ABN AMRO, which adopted a similar policy. However, since the Rabobank is the main financier of the Dutch fur farms this announcement is a serious setback for the industry.

The suffering of monster foxes continues in Finland

Animal rights group Oikeutta eläimille has obtained new photos from
Finnish fur farms. The footage shows extremely obese animals with severe
eye infections, heavily folded skin and badly malformed feet. They are
kept in small and barren wire mesh cages. According to veterinary
experts, these conditions cause extreme suffering to the animals.

Last year, an investigation revealed the suffering of the animals. The
new material proves that the breeding of these monster foxes continues
in spite of international protests and media attention. Kristo Muurimaa from Oikeutta eläimille says:

“The reason behind the suffering is the greed of the fur industry. Bigger skins mean more money to the farmers. The skins of these animals then end up being used as luxury items by fashion brands such as
Burberry, Chanel and Prada.”

According to Oikeutta eläimille, the obese foxes in the new footage are
a norm rather than exceptions. In the latest fur auction in March, more
than 50 % of the blue fox skins belonged to the biggest size category.

A study conducted in 2012 found, that the average weight of the farmed
blue foxes in Finland was 19,4 kg. In the wild these animals weigh from
3 to 5 kg.

After the exposé last year, several international fashion brands have
announced that they’ll stop using real fur. These companies include
Gucci, Versace and Michael Kors. Furthermore, the city of San Francisco
has banned the sales of fur in the city.

Kristo Muurimaa:

“The fur industry has become a disgrace for Finland and has put it’s reputation as an animal friendly country to shame. Our politicians are more interested in the money than the welfare of the animals.”

Make Fur History exhibition on tour in Bulgaria

SOFIA, 2 FEBRUARY 2018 – On 27 January, international experts and scientific scholars gathered in the capital of Bulgaria to discuss the negative impact of fur factory farming. The conference, hosted by Bulgarian Fur Free Alliance member CAAI, was part of the Make Fur History exhibition that was launched last week in Brussels and is now touring throughout Europe.

Next to the ethical concerns and animal welfare problems associated with fur farming, speakers addressed the detrimental effects of fur farms on the environment, biodiversity, and local communities. The conference, that was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Bulgarian Academy of Science and local environmental organisations, aimed to expose facts about how real fur is produced and why a fur farming ban is needed in Bulgaria.

Read more about the Make Fur History exhibition:
Make Fur History – A Landmark Exhibition at the European Parliament
Polish MEPs in Brussels speak out against fur farming
Make Fur History website

Polish MEPs speak out against fur farming in Brussels

BRUSSELS, 26 JANUARY 2018 – This week, Polish members of the European Parliament spoke out against fur farming during the well attended opening of the Make Fur History exhibition in Brussels. The event was an initiative of the Polish members of the ECR Group, co-organised by the Fur Free Alliance and Eurogroup for Animals, to show their support for fur farming bans in Poland and the in rest of the EU.

Poland is currently one of the largest fur producers in Europe. However, the anti-fur movement has increasingly been attracting a lot of attention following the footsteps of various other European countries. A recently proposed bill could make Poland the 14th European nation to turn its back on the extreme animal suffering on fur farms.

Jadwiga Wisniewska, MEP of the ECR Group and co-chair of the Animal Welfare Intergroup, said:

“There is no price that could justify the suffering of animals that are bred in these horrid conditions and killed with exceptional cruelty so that their fur is left undamaged. The exhibition is an opportunity to learn more about the large-scale damage of the fur industry on the environment, the public opinion about fur, and the impact on biodiversity and environmental degradation.”

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Polish Law and Justice Party – currently the largest governing party in the Polish parliament – expressed his support for fur farming bans in a video statement that was screened during the opening:

The three day Make Fur History exhibition aimed to build awareness among EU decision makers of the cruelty associated with fur production and the need for more national bans on fur factory farming. Visitors are confronted with facts on fur production, compelling photography and a virtual reality experience of the conditions on fur farms.

The opening was followed by a roundtable discussion – with MEPs, decision makers and civil society – and a cocktail reception. View the full program and the event poster.

Prof. Zdzislaw Krasnodebski, MEP of the ECR Group, said:

“This is a fundamental issue, concerned with cruelty against animals and protection of the environment. You cannot say that these are rightwing or leftwing issues or conservative in nature. These are cross-cutting issues, that cut right across the political spectrum. We have to deal with these problems together.

We do not want to turn animals into objects. It is not a semi-object or a by-product that we can deal with in the way we have seen in the exhibition. Hopefully we will not be seeing animals being bred for fur in the future at all.”

Watch the full roundtable discussion here:

Mark Glover, Director of Respect for Animals in the UK, adds:

“I can assure you that the Fur Free Alliance and Eurogroup for Animals are united in this. We are absolutely committed to seeing this campaign through. And as you have seen the exhibition is already attracting huge amounts of interest; here in Brussels, in Poland and around the European Union. This will be seen as a landmark in the campaign to bring this morally bankrupt industry to an end.”

Read more at: www.makefurhistory.eu.