BERKELY, UNITED STATES, 10 APRIL 2017 – The City Council of Berkeley CA last week voted to adopt an ordinance banning the sale of fur apparel, signaling that Berkeley is a city that cares about all individuals. The bill was spearheaded by Berkeley Coalition for Animals (BCA), and sponsored by Council Member Kriss Worthington.
BCA is an all-volunteer group that promotes animal-friendly legislation and businesses. Members point out that, historically, Berkeley has recognized and protected the rights of marginalized populations well ahead of other municipalities. Animal advocates want the City to refuse to participate in the exploitation and slaughter of animals. Amy Halpern-Laff, a founding member of the Berkeley Coalition for Animals, says:
“To protect these innocent animals, we need to curtail the demand for their fur. Today, Berkeley took an important step in that direction. We applaud the Council’s leadership in helping to end this cruel industry.”
Berkeley is the second city in the nation to prohibit fur sales. West Hollywood, CA passed a similar ban in 2013. The WeHo ban survived a judicial challenge from several luxury retailers.
Earlier this month, over 100 animal advocates marched through Berkeley and staged a rally at the University of California’s Sproul Plaza in support of the fur ban. The march and rally were organized by Direct Action Everywhere, a global grassroots network of animal rights activists.
The version of the Ordinance approved by the City Council contains a few exemptions, which BCA and Council Members are working to eliminate on the second reading tonight.
Read more about bans on fur trade and fur farming HERE.
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.
ESTONIA, 5 FEBRUARY 2017 – 69% of the Estonian population does not support raising and killing animals on farms for fur and 75% of the Estonians disapprove of the use of animals in circuses, as was found in the latest survey by Kantar Emor.
According to the survey, that was commissioned by the animal advocacy organization NGO Loomus, 81% of women and 55% of men disapprove of raising and killing animals on farms for fur. 82% of women and 67% of men disapprove of the use of wild animals in circuses. 69% of Estonians and Russians disapprove of raising and killing animals on farms for fur. 83% of Estonians and 58% of Russians disapprove of the use of wild animals in circuses. Kadri Taperson, the manager of Loomus, says:
“Estonian residents’ support for ending animal exploitation in circuses and on fur farms is growing year by year. In comparison to the survey conducted a couple of years ago, the number of people who disapprove of fur farms has grown by 11%. In March 2014, 43% of the people in Estonia thought that wild animals should not be used in circus acts. So, the number of these people has grown by as much as 32% in two and a half years,”
854 People aged 15-74 years participated in the national omnibus survey conducted in December 2016 by Kantar Emor.
Public opinion polls in Europe show high percentages of the population that consider raising and killing of animals for fur unacceptable:
Read more about the public opinion against fur farming.
INDIA, 6 JANUARY 2017 – The Director General of Foreign Trade in India, which comes under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has banned the import of skins of reptiles, chinchillas, mink and fox through a notification issued on 3 January.
According to Fur Free Alliance member Humane Society International (HSI), “Worldwide millions of minks and foxes are kept in filthy and wire-floored cages until they are gassed and finally slaughtered for their fur.” The methods used in fur factory farms across the world are remarkably poor and designed to maximize profits, always at the expense of the animals.
At present, India’s import policy allows import of “raw hides, skins, leather, fur skins” of reptiles, mink, fox and other fur skins (whole, with or without head, tail or paws). But they are subject to India’s Wild Life (Protection) act, 1972 and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
CITES is an international agreement between governments and it aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Animal rights organisations had been urging the central government to take a clear stand on the issue and close the doors for trade in exotic skins. Union women and child development minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi had earlier written a letter to the Union commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighting the need to curb cruelty towards animals by prohibiting the import of exotic skins.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC ) and Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), India’s nodal body for animal welfare, also supported the need to bring in the ban.
“We commend the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and MoEFCC for its firm commitment in abolishing the import of exotic skins. The exotic fur, skin and leather industry slaughters, bludgeons and skins millions of animals every year in the name of frivolous fashion. Nations across the world are switching to cruelty-free alternatives and we are glad that India is gradually emulating similar policies to reduce and eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering to animals,” said Gauri Maulekhi, who is HSI India’s government liaison.
CROATIA, 3 JANUARY 2017 – On January 1, the long-awaited Croatian fur farming ban, that was adopted in 2006, came into full force and was celebrated worldwide. After a phase-out period of 10 years the ban, that was supported by large majority of the Croatian citizens, finally came into effect signifying the end one of the cruelest and most critizised industries of today: the raising and killing of animals solely for the purpose of fur production.
The ban coming into force is the result of the long-lasting, dedicated, and persistent struggle of citizens, experts, institutions and animal protection organizations. On their behalf, Animal Friends Croatia will deliver a cake to the Ministry of Agriculture. This symbolic gesture is an act of gratitude to the competent ministry for heeding the public outcry and to celebrate the historic victory for animal rights in Croatia. A letter of appreciation will be sent to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
Most farmers of chinchillas, which are the only animals farmed for fur in Croatia, have ceased production in the years since the fur farming ban made it into the Animal Protection Act in 2006. But a scheming minority of farmers has continued to produce, aiming to bring down the ban. This summer, a chinchilla farming lobby singlehandedly managed to force the adoption of a new Animal Protection Bill, which leans in their favor. However, citizens resolutely rose against abolishing the ban.
Citizens, veterinarians, politicians, MEPs, public figures, civil society organizations, and institutions are all in support of the ban on fur farming. However, a new public hearing on the proposal to extend the phase-out period for an additional year, under urgency, was opened last December. The indignant public again rejected the proposal, as it did 10 years ago. Ethical awareness of the Croatian citizens has overcome petty financial interests and placed Croatia on the map of civilized countries that respect public opinion and are adopting high, ethical and environmental standards for the treatment of animals.
In recent years an increasing number of European countries have, or are considering, legislation to prohibit fur farming. In the last two decades the UK, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia all voted to ban the fur farming industry. Currently similar legislation is considered in Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Norway and Germany.
20 DECEMBER 2016 – In a historic ruling the Dutch Supreme Court has decided that the mink farming ban does not conflict with human rights, as was claimed by the Dutch mink farmers, and shall be upheld. This final verdict concludes a long ongoing battle in court of the Dutch Federation of Fur Holders against the government in an attempt to defy the ban and sets a significant precedent for other EU countries that are currently considering fur farming bans.
Read the verdict of the Supreme Court in English.
Read the verdict of the Supreme Court in Dutch.
The Netherlands is the fourth biggest fur farming country in the world after China, Denmark and Poland. On 160 mink fur farms, employing some 1400 people, nearly 6 million animals are killed for fur each year in The Netherlands. The law states that is illegal to breed and kill animals for fur since it can not be ethically justified. In 2024, after an 11-year changeover period, the needless suffering of animals on fur farms will finally have come to an end in the Netherlands.
Ever since Dutch Parliament voted for a ban in 2013, mink farmers have set out to defy the ban in court. According to the Dutch mink farmers the ban is in breach with their fundamental rights of protection of property – as it is set out in the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. Their claims are rejected by both the verdict of the court in The Hague and the verdict of the Supreme Court .
According to the Dutch Supreme Court a fur farming ban is not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. There is a fair balance between the protection of the fundamental rights of the fur farmers and the public interest served by the law. The law allows fur farmers enough time for a return of investment during the transition period and thus includes sufficient measures to compensate farmers for financial loss. Therefore the Supreme Court decided to maintain the earlier ruling of the court.
The final verdict means a huge victory for animals and will have a far-reaching impact on fur farming debates worldwide. Parliamentary discussions on similar fur farming bans are currently taking place in Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic and Luxembourg.