: Animal ethics

International seminar in Sarajevo on the impact of fur farming

Last Thursday international experts gathered in Sarajevo to discuss the negative impact of fur farming on animal welfare and the environment. The event, organised by the Fur Free Alliance in collaboration with the Anti-Fur Coalition Bosnia and Herzegovina, addressed the problems associated with any extension of the phase-out period of the Bosnian fur farming ban.

The seminar was attended by various stakeholders in the fields of veterinary science, environmental protection, agriculture and politics. Representatives of the social democratic party Democratic Front and the Bosnian Aarhus Center and Friends of the Earth expressed their intention to actively support a swift implementation of the Bosnian fur farming ban.

Invitation Sarajevo Seminar

In 2009 the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted for a law to prohibit fur farming after a 9-year phase-out period. Earlier this year, one year before the ban would take effect, a law amendment was proposed that would extend the ban for another 10 years. Organisations worldwide have since urged Bosnia and Herzegovina to stay committed to the 2009 Act and make an end to the cruel practice of fur farming in 2018.

Pawel Rawicki, a representative of the Polish organization Otwarte Klatki, discussed the negative impact of fur farming on local nature, communities and economy. Between 2012 and 2017 nearly 100 protests of local residents were held in Poland to prevent the building or expansion of fur farms. A severe concern for local residents is the heavy odor of fur farms that can be smelled up to 6 kilometers away. Fly nuisance in neighboring buildings is another major complaint of local communities. The Polish case, Rawicki stresses, presents a grim warning to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

‘Local industries and real estate value suffer from the presence of large fur factory farms, which are most often owned by foreign investors in Poland (…) The fur industry exploits weak economies in eastern European countries.


Speakers from the UK, Croatia en Germany discussed how the inherent cruelty of fur farming – as a result of the confinement of active carnivores in small wire mesh cages – has led their governments to decide to end fur farming. The serious animal welfare problems and the ethical concerns of society are causing an increasing number of European governments to ban fur farming in recent years.

Czech fur farming ban signed by President Zeman

5 AUGUST 2017, PRAGUE – On August 1, the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, signed the amendment of the animal protection law that will make an end to fur farming. The ban on fur farming has now been adopted definitely, and will become effective on the first day of the second calendar month following its publication.

Wild foxes

The amendment bans fur farming in the Czech Republic as of the 31st of January 2019 and will provide compensation to farmers to support their long-term obligations. Despite the heavy debate in both the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate, the amendment was adopted nearly unanimously – 132 votes in favor and 9 against in the Chamber of Deputies in June and 39 votes in favor and 3 against by the Senate in July. In both cases, amendment proposals were rejected that suggested the adoption of WelFur certificates, an extension of the transition period or increasing the compensations provided to farmers.

Ms. Lucie Hemrová of Svoboda zvířat (Freedom for Animals):

“We would like to thank the Czech legislator for having lent an ear to the voice of the public, who sees killing of animals for purposes of fashion as an unethical relic of the past. This is a true milestone in the history of protection of animals, a victory of compassion towards other living creatures, who feel pain and who suffer. We are thrilled with the news!”

Nine farms in the Czech Republic, keeping approximately 20 000 mink and foxes in total, will be affected by the ban. Animals on fur farms are kept in poor conditions and killed cruelly by electrocution or suffocation by exhaust gas. Moreover, the adoption of the amendment banning fur farming is in line with public opinion – according to an opinion poll carried out in the spring this year by the Focus agency, 83 % of Czechs are in favour of the ban of fur farming.

Advertising Standards Authority reprimands “animal-friendly fur” labels

30 JULY 2017, THE NETHERLANDS – Last week the Dutch Advertising Standards Authority forced the fur brand Airforce to remove false animal-friendly claims from their labels. The company was selling jackets with raccoon dog fur trims labelled as ‘ethical’ and ‘responsible’.

Raccoon dogs are farmed in China in atrocious conditions with hardly any inspections taking place. The Chinese region Tongxiang, where Airforce sources its fur, is known for the severe abuse revealed on fur farms by undercover investigations.

Raccoon dogs fur farm

Dennis van den Hoorn, CEO of Airforce, says the decision is ridiculous: “My company shows that we are buying responsible Chinese fur”. However, Van den Hoorn says he does not have any prove that there isn’t abuse taking place on the farms:

“Of course our animals aren’t tickled to death, that is clear. But well, I am not present the moment when they are skinned.”

Nicole van Gemert, director of Dutch Fur Free Alliance member Bont voor Dieren – the organisation that the filed the complaint about the misleading labels – is glad with the decision:

“The labels used by Airforce to sell their fur trimmed jackets were misleading consumers into thinking fur is animal-friendly.”






Czech ban on fur farming approved by senate

22 JULY 2017, PRAGUE – Thursday the Czech Senate voted with an overwhelming majority for a law that prohibits fur farming. The vote is a historic victory for animal rights and will spare thousands of animals from a miserable life in a cramped battery cage on a fur farm.

Over 80 percent of Czechs support the ban on fur farming as opinion polls suggest. The law to prohibit fur farms will take effect in January 2019. According to the bill the owners of fur farms will be able to claim compensation from the state.

With 39 votes in favor – and only 3 against – the senate supported the bill with an immense majority. Lucie Moravcová from Svoboda zvířat says:

“This law will save 20,000 innocent animals per year from cruel deaths and very poor living conditions on fur farms. We think that this industry does not belong in civilized society and we are very grateful to our legislators that they understood what was at stake and supported this bill. We consider this a historic success in animal protection in the Czech Republic and we are very happy that our country will join other European states which have already banned this cruel practice.”

Czech bans fur farming

The Czech Republic has joined 12 European countries that have already passed bans or have implemented stricter regulations that results in the phasing out of fur farming.

International organisations urge Czech Senate to end fur farming

16 JULY 2017, PRAGUE – This week 40 animal protection organisations worldwide co-signed a letter to call upon the Czech Senate to end fur farming.

The letter was handed over by Fur Free Alliance member organisation Svoboda Zvirat to Mr. Jaroslav Müllner, head of the secretariat of the President of the Senate, and urges the senators to do the right thing for animal welfare and implement a ban fur farming ban at their earliest opportunity:

“Legislation to prohibit fur farming is becoming increasingly widespread in Europe. The inherent cruelty of fur farming and the ethical concerns of a vast majority of the population have led many countries to close down fur farms in recent years. We are very pleased that the Czech Republic is at the forefront of that movement in Europe, as it considers prohibiting the cruel practice of fur farming.“

The letter will be distributed to all members of the Senate. Read the full letter here.

czech letter FOTO copy

The ban on fur farming in the Czech Republic is widely supported by the Czech population. A recent opinion poll showed that 83% of the Czech population is in favor of the ban and 85% does not buy fur products. Furthermore, nearly 46 000 Czech citizens signed a recent petition – and an extra 20 000 signed an electronic appeal – to express their support for a fur farming ban in the Czech Republic.


Major French e-commerce seller La Redoute joins Fur Free Retailer

22 JUNE 2017, FRANCE – After working together with Fur Free Alliance member One Voice French major multi-line retailer La Redoute joined the Fur Free Retailer program. La Redoute is one of France’s top e-commerce sellers of women’s apparel and home decor.

Nathalie Balla, co-president of La Redoute, commented on this ethical choice:

“Many years ago we made the responsible choice of not having real fur in the design of our products or in the selection of products distributed by La Redoute. The decision to join the Fur Free Retailer program in 2017 is in line with our sustainable development plan and in our resolution to support an ethical belief around animal rights. This public commitment by La Redoute to society corresponds with a desire to be influential and to contribute to a more beautiful world.”

La Redoute joins Fur Free Retailer

Read more about the Fur Free Retailer program.