ITALY, 29 NOVEMBER 2016 – OVS, Italian’s leading clothing brand with over 800 stores in Italy and worldwide, will no longer use animal fur. The popular brand came out this week with a public statement to drop fur from its future collections. OVS worked together with LAV (Italian Animal Rights group) and is now part of the international Fur Free Retailer Program.
LAV: ‘This decision taken by the historic clothing brand will help to save millions of animals.’
OVS, that has already abandoned the use of animal fur in its collections, has signed the fur-free statement in collaboration with LAV and the Fur Free Alliance to reflect their ambition to protect and respect animals and the environment.
The animal friendly policy of OVS covers all of the products within the company’s brands; OVS, OVS kids, UPIM and Blukids. OVS is now committed to the Fur Free Retailer international standards (specifically committing to replace animal furs) and to Animal Free Fashion (the first fashion rating, developed by LAV attaches value to Social Responsibility policies on materials of animal origin that a company agrees not to use: V no fur; VV no fur or feathers; VVV no fur, feathers, leather or silk; VVV+ no fur, feathers, leather, silk or wool). Simone Pavesi, the LAV Animal Free Fashion Division Manager, says:
‘The decision taken by OVS Ltd to stop using animal fur, is a choice that is in line with the Sustainable Development policies that every fashion company should assume – And having made a public announcement, this decision must be taken as a commitment to society about the company’s environmental impact. This announcement from OVS Ltd will contribute significantly to the lives of millions of animals: another important reason to choose their products’
LAV and the Fur Free Alliance are glad with the public statement of OVS against the exploitation of animals for their fur, an opinion shared by the majority of Italians, which is confirmed every year by Eurispes (Institute of Political, Economic and Social Studies).
VILNIUS, 24 NOVEMBER 2016 – This month it was hard to ignore a striking, creative anti-fur poster campaign on the streets of Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The poster campaign – an initiative of Fur Free Alliance member organization Tusti Narvai (Open Cages) – ran for 3 weeks and was spread throughout the city center. Lithuania has a relatively large fur industry – of 2 million animals killed for fur each year – even though a majority of 67% of the Lithuanian population is against fur farming.
Tusti Narvai conducted a new opinion poll on fur farming during the last week of the poster campaign that showed a 9% increase of the number of citizens that do not support fur farming. Compared to 58% in May this year, now a majority of 67% expressed their opinion that breeding and killing wild animals for fur is unacceptable.
21 july 2016 – O bag, the famous Italian fashion handbag brand has, in agreement with the Fur Free Alliance, announced its commitment to completely abandon the use of animal fur in its products.
The O bag autumn collection will be showcasing a major new feature: instead of real fur, the interchangeable handles, straps, trims and inner bags of the O bag, the O basket and the O pocket, will be made of top quality eco-fur. Michele Zanella, director-general of Full Spot, explains:
“As of autumn-winter 2016/2017 the O bag collections will be entirely fur free. This is a huge step for our company and testifies as to our tangible commitment towards animal welfare. Our choice stems from a strong request on the part of some of our customers that, though they love our bags, weren’t comfortable with the use of certain materials. Our customers come first and that is why we always listen to what they have to say. It’s word-of-mouth that made the success of O bag, alongside a continuous dialogue with our customers and the collective sharing of personal experience.”
Through the Italian member organisation of the Fur Free Alliance LAV, O bag has signed the Fur Free Alliance protocol. O bag has thus pledged not to use any type of animal fur whatsoever in its future collections, including fur that comes from the food sector (such as rabbit fur for example).
Simone Pavesi, head of LAV’s Animal Free Fashion department, says:
“O bag is a symbol of Italian creativity and its designer products, from watches to bags to bracelets and glasses, and now shoes as well, all made from innovative materials, delight customers around the world. This decision has been long-awaited and reinforces the mission LAV has set for itself to promote ethical, responsible and sustainable fashion that doesn’t exploit animals”
With its decision O bag responds to its customers’ request: according to a recent report commissioned by LAV in 6 European countries (Italy, Germany, the UK and Poland) consumers that regularly buy animal friendly products account for at least 12% of fashion items consumers, a number that is highly like to increase.
To ensure its commitment to a fur-free policy, O bag has pledged to demand that its suppliers provide the adequate certifications ensuring the absence of animal-based materials. As it is not possible to withdraw items from its previous collections that contain real fur from the market, these items will still be sold until they run out.
23 JUNE 2016, AMSTERDAM – This week Europe’s first fur-free shopping street became a fact in the midst of the historic center of Amsterdam. The public statement was a joint effort of Dutch animal protection organisation Bont voor Dieren and 19 store owners on the Hartenstraat. The official ‘Fur-free shopping street’ sign was unveiled this tuesday by Dutch actress Georgina Verbaan and Laurens Ivens, alderman of Animal Welfare in Amsterdam:
‘As the alderman of Animal Welfare of Amsterdam I am very proud to officially welcome you in the first fur-free shopping street in Europe. I am also proud of the 19 store owners that have decided to make a collective statement of the need to end the breeding and killing of animals solely for a fashion item. This action is completely in line with the ambition of the municipality of Amsterdam. Since several years Amsterdam has been calling for stores to adopt fur-free policies. It is wonderful to see that animal protection organisation Bont voor Dieren has taken the initiative together with 19 store owners to join efforts and make this compassionate statement. Hopefully this will bring us closer to the end of the exploitation of animals for fashion.’
Photos: Jamie Peters
AMSTERDAM, 20 JUNE 2016 – After working together with Dutch animal protection organisation Bont voor Dieren, the store owners on the Hartenstraat in Amsterdam have decided to ban all fur items from their shops. With this compassionate move the Hartenstraat (which translates as ‘Heartstreet’) has become the first fur-free shopping street in Europe. The 19 store owners of the Hartenstraat hereby also respond to the municipality of Amsterdam which has encouraged its local entrepreneurs to go fur-free. On June 21 at 11.00 AM an official “Fur-free shopping street” sign will be unveiled by Laurens Ivens, alderman of Animal Welfare in Amsterdam, and Dutch actress Georgina Verbaan.
Bont voor Dieren aims to spread awareness about the extreme animal suffering in the fur industry and to encourage consumers and companies to go fur-free. Several renowned fashion brands in the Hartenstraat such as HOPE, Marc O’Polo and COS had already adopted a fur-free policy. Other stores had previously been selling items made of mink, rabbit and fox fur. Animals kept on fur farms spend their entire lives in small, wire cages and are killed by cruel methods, such as gassing and anal electrocution. Today, for the very first time an entire shopping street publicly announces its humane decision to go fur-free.
The Hartenstraat is located in the midst of ‘De 9 straatjes’ (the 9 Streets), a popular shopping district in the centre of Amsterdam. The historic neighbourhood was constructed in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, a highly prosperous period due to the flourishing international trade. The street names of ‘De 9 straatjes’, such as Wolvenstraat (Wolfsstreet), Huidenstraat (Skinstreet) and Berenstraat (Bearstreet), still bear witness to the artisans that were active here at the time and are a remnant of the past local trade in animal hides. Over the years the name Hertenstraat (Dear street) was changed into Hartenstraat (Heartstreet).
Nicole van Gemert, director of Bont voor Dieren:
The announcement of the Hartenstraat to go fur-free greatly illustrates our changed attitude towards animals over 400 years time. Fur has no place on shopping streets of the 21st century. The store owners on the Hartenstraat have decided to do business with compassion, and I am certain many other streets will follow their example.
Laurens Ivens, alderman of Animal Welfare:
It is great to see shops in the Hartenstraat taking their responsibility for animal welfare seriously and deciding for a fur-free policy. This initiative is highly praised by the municipality of Amsterdam!
Companies that have signed the fur-free agreement are part of the Fur Free Retailer program, an international list of fur-free companies (such as Armani and Hugo Boss) offering consumers the ability to make informed and compassionate choices.
Fur-free stores on the Hartenstraat:
De Maagd en de Leeuw
Hester van Eeghen
Shine & Design
TALLIN, 3 DECEMBER – Last week the Norwegian Award-winning documentary Inside Fur (Pels) was screened at Tallinn’s Cinema House. The documentary, which gives an alarming inside view on the atrocities of the Nordic fur industry, was internationally released in April 2015 and is currently circulating the global film festival circuit. The film screening, which was organised by Fur Free Alliance member Loomus, was introduced by Norwegian director Ola Waagen to a full house of over 100 visitors. On the 12th of January 2016 another screening of the film will take place in Tartu, the second largest city in Estonia, and in May next year the film will be aired on Estonian public television.
The documentary follows psychologist Frank Nervik while he exposes the grim truth about the Nordic fur industry. Posing as a new fur farmer, his hidden camera captures riveting footage of his training and day-to-day work, culminating in him being forced to experience the process all the way to the painful end. Learn more on the website of the documentary and follow Inside Fur on Facebook to stay updated. The trailer of Inside Fur an be viewed here.
Photography: Liina Lelov