13 FEBRUARY 2017 – Last month Lithuanian citizens took the streets to protest the extreme animal cruelty in the fur industry. Around 1000 participants gathered on the Gediminas Avenue in Vilnius to raise public awareness on the ethical problems associated with fur industry. The march was an initiative Fur Free Alliance member Open Cages (Tusti Narvai).
The march was meant to support the action of the member of Lithuanian Green Party, Linas Balsys, who recently registered an amendment of the Animal Welfare and Protection Law which would essentially ban rearing and killing animals for fur if it was introduced. The amendment in question will likely be voted on during the Parliament spring session.
The march for animals attracted people to join from all over Lithuania, as well as international participants from Germany, UK, Denmark and Latvia. Supporters of both the Green party and the Liberals could be seen holding protest signs. And several Lithuanian celebrities joined in.Gabija Enciute, one of the founders of Open Cages in Lithuania, commented after the rally near the Parliament:
“We are happy that so many people came. There must be some kind of political and social maturing going on. More people than ever seem outraged enough with the failing of the law to go out into the streets. Seeking to defend the weak – in this case, the animals – is a true sign of a mature society. We are trying to change the legislation, and we’re hopeful that Lithuania too will join the growing group of European countries that have banned the intrinsically unethical practice of fur farming”
Currently there are about 200 fur farms operating in Lithuania that altogether cause about 2 million animal deaths every year. The rally was organised in order to encourage the Lithuanian MPs to vote for the amendment in animal welfare legislation and draw their attention to the environmental and animal welfare problems in the fur industry. A 2016 representative poll shows that two thirds of the Lithuanian citizens don not support fur farming.
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.
ISRAEL, 3 FEBRUARY 2017 – Next Monday, the Ministerial Law Committee is due to discuss a bill that would ban the sale of fur and fur products in Israel. The proposed law imposes a six-month sentence or monetary fine to anyone who sells fur or fur products. The bill exempts the shtreimel – the fur hat worn by Hasidim on Shabbat and Jewish holidays – and all other fur products “that are used for religious needs or religious tradition”.
Previous attempts to advance similar legislation that did not make such exemptions failed due to opposition from the ultra-Orthodox factions. To avoid objections from the ultra-Orthodox parties, the shtreimal is not included in the new ban proposal.
At the same time, the bill would permit the use of fur products from cattle, sheep and camels, and the use of fur for scientific research. The bill has garnered the signatures of 25 more MKs from coalition and opposition alike. The bill’s sponsor, Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli says:
“The days are gone when people didn’t understand that animals suffer too and that humans have an obligation to protect helpless creatures that cannot defend themselves. Cruelty to animals was prohibited in the Torah, and the time has come now for Israeli law to ban the sale of fur. Skinning animals in order to sell their fur is one of the cruelest, most horrible ways to kill animals. Today there are all kinds of synthetic fur available, and there is no reason for us to continue putting animals through such agony.”
The explanatory material for the bill says that each year hundreds of millions of animals are executed by the fur industry:
“The fur industry entails indescribable cruelty and suffering for animals, which are bred in inhumane conditions, brutally captured in the wild, and killed. Often, animals are stripped of their fur while still alive. … Fur is mainly used in the fashion industry. In a warm climate like Israel’s, fur is mainly purchased not out of need but as a status symbol. In the 21st century, there are synthetic fabrics that are warmer than fur.”
If Israel passed the law, it will become the first country in the world to ban the trading of fur. The city of West-Hollywood decided to ban the sales of fur in 2011, and a similar ban was passed in the Brazilian state of Sao Paolo in 2015. In January this year India decided to ban the import of fur.
HAMBURG, 28 JANUARI 2017 – Since last week consumers can be sure not to find any real animal fur when shopping at KiK. Germany’s leading textile discount for the entire family, with 3,400 stores in nine European countries, reaffirms their longstanding fur free policy and joined the Fur Free Retailer Program.
Since the founding of KiK in 1994 the company from Bönen consciously abstains from using real fur. By joining the program KiK reaffirms their longstanding company policy. Ansgar Lohmann, division manager sustainability KiK:
‘By joining the international Fur Free Retailer Program our customers have the assurance to shop fur-free. We strictly reject the use of real fur in fashion and we only use artificial fur.’
The FFRP helps consumers to find fashion that is guaranteed fur-free. Through this international initiative, retailers, labels and designers commit in writing to never sell real animal fur. Denise Schmidt, head of campaigns VIER PFOTEN:
‘It has become increasingly harder to tell the difference between fake fur and real fur, neither by price nor by the look. With joining the FFRP KiK speaks out against fur fashion and the million fold animal cruelty.’
The international Fur Free Retailer program is hosted by the Fur Free Alliance, an international coalition of leading animal protection and environmental organizations. Meanwhile 470 retailers are part of the program, among them many well-known companies like C&A, Ernsting‘s Family, Esprit, Galeria Kaufhof, Gerry Weber, H&M, Marc O’Polo, Orsay, Otto Group, s.Oliver, Tom Tailor and Zara. Four Paws is the program’s representative in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania and South Africa.
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.
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.