ESTONIA, 6 MARCH 2017 – In February a legislative draft to ban fur farming in Estonia was proposed by member of parliament Barbi Pilvre (Social Democrats) . The proposed ban includes a ten-year changeover period for fur farmers to transition to a more sustainable industry.
The draft that was initiated by 14 parliament members from different factions (SDE, REF, KE) would end fur farming in Estonia by 1 January 2028.
According to Pilvre, the 10-year phase-out period offers sufficient time for the less than hundred people currently employed by the industry to retrain for a new profession and find other jobs.
In Estonia there are four mink and fox farms and about 27 chinchilla farms. A total of 200 000 animals are killed annually.
According to the latest public opinion survey by Kantar Emor, 69% of the Estonian people do not support raising and killing animals on farms for fur.
POLAND, 17 JANUARY 2017 – Cyryl and Ferdinand, the two injured foxes that were rescued from Polish fur farms, are settling in their new sanctuary in the Poznan Zoo. Last year November the zoo, in cooperation with Polish Fur Free Alliance member Otwarte Klatki (Open Cages), opened a new outside enclosure for the two foxes to recover from their injuries caused by the battery cage system on fur farms.
During an inspection the foxes were found to suffer from severe injuries and hospitalized immediately. Cyryl was in such a bad shape that his front paw needed to be amputated while Ferdynand suffered a serious skin disease.
Due to a successful fundraising action by Otwarte Klatki, the finances were raised to build an outside enclosure for the foxes. The official opening event took place on Zwierzyniecka Street in Poznań (the Old Zoo area), in the presence of the vice-president of Poznań, Tomasz Lewandowski, some members of the Poznań Town Council, the actor Michał Piróg and the Canadian photographer and activist, Jo-Anne McArthur.
The visitors could not only see two animals being brought to live in their natural surroundings, but also watch the play by Kornelia Lech, the actress of the Polish Dance Theatre (Fur Means Life Skinning) in the Grot and a photo exhibition from the Polish fur farms.
Cyryl and Ferdynand are not the first foxes that were injured so severely on Polish fur farms that they needed to be hospitalized. In 2015 two small fox cubs were rescued from a fur farm when an inspector observed the cubs were both missing limbs. Missing limbs from biting accidents and infected wounds are found to occur on a large scale on fur farms. The battery cage environment on fur farms is causing foxes numerous stress-related health problems. Animals kept for fur are mainly active predators and inherently unsuitable for farming conditions.
PRAGUE, 10 NOVEMBER 2016 – Fur farming will no longer be allowed in the Czech Republic by 2019 according to a bill that the Chamber of Deputies passed in first reading yesterday. The amendment prohibits the breeding and killing of animals solely or primarily for the purpose of fur and was submitted by about one fourth of the members of the 200-seat Chamber. They say the conditions at fur farms meet the given standards but they do not meet the needs of wild animals.
Nine fur farms operate in the country, breeding mostly minks and foxes. Approximately 20,000 animals are killed at the farms a year. The number of farms has been declining for a long time. Lucie Moravcová, head of Fur Free Alliance member organization Svoboda Zvířat, says:
“Today’s vote is a huge step towards victory for minks and foxes, which are bred in the Czech Republic and cruelly killed just for fashion items. Although it is not yet won, we are very happy with the outcome of today’s vote and thank all members who supported this significant step forward for the protection of animals. There is no reason to continue to allow fur farming – the public wants fur farming to be banned and the demand for fur products is negligible.”
The bill was submitted in the spring of this year by a group of 50 deputies headed by Chairman of the Committee on the Environment Robin Böhnisch. Operators can apply for financial compensation for having closed down their fur farms, but the state need not compensate them. Opponents of the bill say the ban on fur farms may lead to the establishment of illegal fur farms that will not be supervised by the State Veterinary Administration Authority. Even though illegal fur farms have not been reported to emerge as a problem caused by fur farming bans in other European countries. The bill will be discussed in the lower house agricultural and environmental committees now.
Read more about fur farming bans.
BELGIUM, 25 JULY 2016 – Veritable temple of fur in Belgium, Pelsland was declared bankrupt last month by the court of Antwerp. A part of the Belgian scene for 40 years, Pelsland’s demise was supposedly down to an exceptionally mild winter, according to its director.
However, according to Belgian Fur Free Alliance member GAIA, the reasons for the chain’s bankruptcy go much deeper. In recent years there has been a marked decrease in global consumer interest in fur, motivated primarily by concern for ethics and animal welfare. Kopenhagen Fur, one of the world’s leading fur auction houses, estimates that global production of mink fell from almost 72 million animals in 2015 to 52 million this year.
Over the years, Pelsland had become a symbol of GAIA’s campaign against the fur industry. Numerous demonstrations have taken place before the shop in Antwerp, during which activists brandished signs or used cages to denounce the cruelty of fur farming.
Nevertheless, the fight goes on. After having obtained a ban on fur farming in Wallonia, GAIA still seeks a similar ban in Flanders, which currently has 16 mink farms in operation.
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
POLAND, 21 AUGUST 2015 – Last week, inspectors from the Polish Fur Free Alliance member organisation Otwarte Klatki intervened at a fox farm in Kiełczewo, Kościan commune in western Poland to rescue two fox cubs. Inspectors came across the wounded animals in the course of inspection carried out on the farm with the consent of the owner in the end of July.
The inspection revealed that one of the cubs lacked one rear paw, while the other only had two front paws. The animals had difficulties moving around the cage. Having carefully examined the material available, the representatives of the organisation decided to intervene and take the animals away in order to provide them with immediate medical attention.
Medical examination by a veterinary doctor confirmed that the female cub was missing both limbs. It additionally revealed an inflammatory condition of the stamp, bone tissue being excessively grown due to inappropriate healing of the wound, as well as purulent fistula, mycosis and mite infestation. The male was diagnosed, inter alia, with a cough, a fever of over 40 degrees and heart murmur. The foxes, which up until now had not been treated, are under vet’s observation. Both animals, who are not yet 3 months old, might require amputation. Barbara Karbowiak, inspector of Stowarzyszenie Otwarte Klatki:
“We could not have decided otherwise than to immediately take the cubs away. We did the right thing. To leave the cubs on the farm MIGHT have brought a tragic end to their lives, therefore it was never considered as an option. Both animals have inflammatory conditions of their bones which, if left untreated, might have resulted in further infections and enormous suffering. They are both only 2.5 months old and yet they already experienced so much injustice. They did not choose this life for themselves”
According to the owner, the cubs lost their paws because of their mother. However, the farmer failed to provide the animals with treatment and to improve their living conditions.
Acting in accordance with the Animal Protection Act, the inspectors reported the foxes having been taken away to the administrator of Kościan commune. Now, it is for him to decide upon the fate of the rescued animals. The foxes were taken with no knowledge, consent or presence of the owner. According to the Animal Protection Law it is permissible action if the life or health of animal is in danger. Paweł Rawicki, the Vice-president of Otwarte Klatki:
“The condition of the foxes illustrates the farmers’ attitude towards animals. As long as fur can somehow be obtained, their health is of no significance.”
Representatives of Otwarte Klatki claim that animal health issues are a commonplace occurrence on fur farms. They believe that legal provisions as applicable today fail to ensure suitable conditions for animals to live in, as guaranteeing animal welfare is impossible to be reconciled with profitability of fur farming business. The organisation calls for a ban on fur farming to be introduced in Poland. To support their postulates, the organisation refers to films recorded on farms as well as reports published in 2012–2013, entitled THE PRICE OF FUR and PREDATORY BUSINESS.