Ethics of Fur

Causing suffering and killing animals for a non-essential and even trivial reason as fashion contravenes public morality. Nowadays there are sufficient alternatives available for a luxury item as fur. An increasing majority of the population finds it unjustifiable to subject animals to prolonged suffering just for the sake of fashion. The public awareness that there must be legal constraints on the uses to which animals can be put is growing worldwide.

Opinion polls consistently demonstrate that most citizens find it unacceptable to breed and kill animals for fur and are in support of legislation to prohibit fur farming.

Public Morality

An increasing number of European countries have introduced legislation on the grounds of public morality to prohibit fur farming. In 2000 the UK was the first country to outlaw the breeding and killing of animals for fur on ethical grounds. Other countries that followed were Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia and recently Czech Republic. Similar legislation is currently being considered in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

  • Bianca Debaets, Belgium - State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region (2015)

    ‘Raising animals, encaged solely for the production of luxury objects, is no more of our time.’

  • Fernand Etgen, Luxembourg - Minister of Agriculture (2016)

    'Animal welfare legislation requires profound reform because of what scientific advances had revealed about animals, and because of changes in how animals are viewed by human society.'

  • Elliot Morley, UK - Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (2000)

    'Fur farming is not consistent with a proper value and respect for animal life. Animal life should not be destroyed in the absence of a sufficient justification in terms of public benefit'

  • Mr. Robin Bönisch, Czech Republic Member of Parliament (2017)

    'Breeding and killing animals primarily for fur is no longer acceptable in the 21st century. Species like mink and fox can not be successfully domesticated.'

  • The Netherlands, The Hague - National Court of Appeals (2015)

    'Mink farmers had to take into consideration that there would come a time when their activities would be prohibited. (…) This motion did not concern animal welfare as such, but the notion that it is ethically not acceptable to keep animals for the production of fur.'

  • Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands (2016)

    'The recognition of the intrinsic value of animals by society and its enshrinement in law is considered to be a progressive step in the process of civilisation.'

The Ethical Case in The Netherlands

In 2013 The Netherlands passed a law to prohibit fur farming including an 11-year phase-out period. The law is based on the ethical notion that it is unacceptable to breed and kill animals solely for the purpose of fur production. In The Netherlands – world’s fourth largest fur farming country with 160 fur farms and about 1400 employees – nearly 6 million animals are killed for fur each year. In 2016, after the law had repeatedly been challenged in court by the Dutch Fur Breeders’ Association, the claims of the Dutch fur industry were rejected by the Dutch Supreme Court. In its final verdict the Supreme Court ruled that the fur farming ban was justified on ethical grounds.

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