28 JUNE 2021, BRUSSELS – Today, the Dutch and Austrian governments presented an information note on fur farming in the Council, which has already been supported by Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Slovakia. The initiative calls on the European Commission to take action to permanently end fur farming in the EU based on animal welfare, ethics as well as health risks for humans and animals.
Fur farming is a cruel practice and should no longer have a place in Europe. Animals farmed for fur spend short miserable lives in small battery cages. It is evident that animals are unsuited to caged confinement and intensive breeding practices, which do not meet their natural and social needs.
Aside from the animal welfare issues associated with fur production, there are also considerable public health concerns. Since April 2020, over 400 fur farms across Europe have experienced outbreaks of COVID-19 in their mink herds. Only days ago, the SARS-CoV-2 was detected in mink on four more fur farms in Spain and two more in Poland. Despite enhanced biosecurity measures, the virus has shown to rapidly spread between mink and was also transmitted from humans to mink and mink to humans”.
This creates the perfect environment for mutations to occur and can decrease vaccine efficacy.
The signatories of the information note “ask the European Commission to investigate the options for the permanent prohibition of fur farming in the EU and to present a legislative proposal to achieve this goal”.
Joh Vinding, Chairman of the Fur Free Alliance, says:
“The existing industry welfare certification programme for fur farms is inadequate and does not solve the inherent welfare concerns associated with keeping wild animals in tiny cages. Certifications and labels are not the solution to the welfare problems in fur farming, which is why we support the call to end fur farming”.
Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS, says:
“We applaud the initiative of the Austrian and Dutch governments and the support of 10 more Member States. An overwhelming majority of European citizens is in favour of a ban on fur farming and we urge the Commission to listen to it!”
Dr Joanna Swabe, Senior Director of Public Affairs at Humane Society International/Europe, adds:
“The species bred on fur farms are wholly unsuited to being intensively kept in caged confinement. This practice is inherently inhumane. We cannot meaningfully improve the welfare of animals on fur farms. Indeed, any attempt to introduce welfare standards would bring little improvement to their lives and would be tantamount to legitimising a cruel and outdated practice, which should be relegated to history. The only way forward is for Member States to ensure a permanent end to fur farming in Europe.”
Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals, adds:
“Bravo to the Dutch and Austrian governments for this paper. Whilst several Member States have already banned fur farming, that it still continues in the EU at all is a moral outrage. Now that Member States have added their voice calling for its abolition, the Commission must act. The promise of new animal welfare laws at EU level offers us the perfect opportunity, and we trust that the Commission will seize this chance to end fur farming once and for all.”
Austria and the Netherlands are not alone in calling for an end of fur farming. EU citizens are also urging it not only to protect human health in the wake of COVID-19, but also to end animal suffering. Indeed, more than 500.000 people have already signed a petition calling for the end of the fur trade. Now their voices are mirrored in the Member States’ requests.
Multiple EU Member States have already enforced national bans on fur production and numerous scientists have called for an end of mink farming for the sake of public health and safety. With this groundswell of support for an end to fur farming, it is now up to the European Commission to step up and develop a plan to assist Member States in phasing out all fur farming in Europe.