18 MAY 2017, TALLIN – On 10 May, with 24 votes in favour and 49 against, the parliament of Estonia rejected a bill that would outlaw fur farming in Estonia over a period of ten years. In February a legislative draft was proposed to ban fur farming in Estonia including a ten-year changeover period for fur farmers to transition to a more sustainable industry. The bill was initiated by 14 parliament members representing a range of political parties (SDE, REF, KE) and led by Barbi Pilvre (Social Democrats).
Members voting against the proposed legislation argued that as long as animal welfare needs are met on fur farms they would not support a ban. However, extensive research has pointed out that it is impossible for the needs of mink and foxes to be met on fur farms als long as these undomesticated animals are kept in smalld battery cages.
Kadri Taperson, the manager of Fur Free Alliancem member organisation Loomus, said:
“As fur farms are unable to meet welfare requirements and they cannot guarantee animal wellbeing even with stricter requirements, we might see fur farm bans in less than ten years. The issue has also been taken up in the European Union. This means that the process and campaigns of banning fur farming in Estonia will continue even more intensely.”
It must also be taken under consideration that younger generations care more and more about the welfare of animals, according to Taperson. According to a survey conducted by Kantar Emor at the end of December 2016, 69 percent of the Estonian population does not support raising and killing animals for producing fur:
“Thus, pressure from society will grow and there will be more changes than the current parliament members can foresee. Politicians’ views on animals and nature will definitely be one of the key questions for the young voters before the elections this autumn.”
In 2014, the national petition to ban fur farms collected more than 10 000 signatures in Estonia. The international petition to ban fur farms in Estonia has collected almost 41 000 signatures so far.
In recent decades fur farming bans have become widespread. The United Kingdom, Austria, Croatia, the Netherlands, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Serbia have all prohibited the breeding and killing of animals for fur. Parliamentary debates on fur farming bans are currently taking place in Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic and Luxembourg.