: Legislation

Bulgarian Citizens Demand Ban on Fur Farming

BULGARIA, JULY 2018 – Exactly 51 234 signatures were submitted to the Bulgarian parliament by the National Citizens’ Initiative, which seeks to bring about a ban on fur farming on the country’s territory.

On June 22, 51 234 signatures in total were submitted to the national parliament, along with a proposition for an amendment to the current legislation. The goal of this amendment is to forbid the raising, killing and trade of animals for fur production in the Republic of Bulgaria”.

The Reasons

Among them are the deteriorating public perception of fur products and their process of production, the ethical and moral issues, the suffering of animals, the alarming risk for public health and for the livelihood of the local populace, the ensuing social problems, immense pollution, and a staggering threat to biodiversity.

Popular Support

All signatures were collected within the legal bounds of the National Citizens’ Initiative. The Initiative started on March 25th and was held in accordance with all relevant legislation. As such, 34 995 signatures were collected on paper from across the country, despite the stringent requirement for submitting one’s personal data along with one’s signature. In addition, 16 098 signatures were collected in an online petition on the platform change.org. 181 children also insisted on signing the Citizens’ Initiative, even though, legally, they do not have the right to take part in it.

During the last few months, an informational campaign about the influence of fur farms also took place in the country. Citizens fear that, despite the presently small number of farms in Bulgaria (officially, 3), the rate at which they are expanding is highly alarming. Within just two years, one of the mink farms doubled its declared capacity, and, as of data from 2017, 120 000 American minks are killed there every year. Worse still, the goal of this same farm is to eventually reach an annual capacity of 400 000.

In August last year, an attempt was made to change national legislation to improve conditions for the industry, but after numerous civil protests and public upheaval, the bill was withdrawn in January. The continent-wide enactment of bans one after the other in Europe is one more reason why Bulgarian citizens want to see fur farming banned in their own country as well. The business migrates every few years to countries in which such bans have not yet been adopted, as one nation after another refuses to take part in the barbarity any longer. Should Bulgaria fail to introduce this ban, it would therefore soon become unavoidable that hundreds of fur farms previously located elsewhere in Europe now pop up on Bulgarian territory, and with them – all the damage and severe risks to animal welfare, nature, and the local populace.

The production of fur is torture for animals, it is a cruel industry, and one that is entirely unnecessary in the modern, 21st century.

The National Initiative’s organizers:

 „We collected signatures in accordance with the law: only within the allotted three-month period. The requirements were such that submitting personal information, such as one’s citizen number, address etc., is mandatory to sign. Despite the cumbersome legal procedure and all the hurdles around the necessity to handle personal information, we believe that the signatures we’ve collected thus far are more than enough to clearly show the strong public opinion and the will of the people. No one, after acquainting oneself with the problem at hand, can remain indifferent to the plight of the animals, and to the catastrophic consequences for the environment and the lives of locals. It is precisely these facts that must be seriously addressed by the politicians, because these fur farms are a ticking ecological time-bomb, and indescribable agony for the animals. Numerous countries have seen reason in the past years and have promptly passed bans, even as, in some cases, fur farms have existed on their own territory for decades beforehand.”

“This petition is one more democratic litmus test for the institutions and those in power, with which we will see how capable they are of listening to the voice of the people. Whether they choose the principles of non-violence, environmental protection and a sustainable future, or fast profits, suffering, death and devastation, all depends on them now, and on their willingness to inform themselves about the issue well enough.” 

In Bulgaria, since 2013 three fur farms have been operational (officially). In 2017 alone, more than 100 000 minks were killed in the country. Since 2013, the yearly death tolls have been increasing exponentially. Despite the fact that the largest of the three has a declared capacity of 400 000 minks per year, no official evaluation of their environmental impact has been performed on any of them.

Alerts from concerned citizens about minks being noticed in the wild and in the villages around the farms have been a constant trend these few years. The mere existence of these farms is even in contravention of already existing legislation: The requirements set forth in the Biodiversity-Protection Law have not been met, and nor have those of a number of other ordinances and directives.

Luxembourg 10th European country to ban fur farming

LUXEMBOURG, 15 JUNE 2018 – This week, Luxembourg became the 10th European country to ban fur farming. A new progressive animal welfare law, that was proposed in 2016 by Minister of Agriculture Fernand Etgen, was passed that includes a prohibition on fur farming.

The animal welfare act will go into effect in October 2018. Since Luxembourg currently has no fur farming industry, the law will mainly prevent new mink farms to be built. All information about the new law can be found on the internet portal: https://deiereschutzgesetz.lu/.

The new welfare act is based upon the assumption that animals are “living non-human sentient beings with a nervous system scientifically capable of feeling pain and experiencing other emotions” including “suffering and anguish”.

In May 2016 the Minister of Agriculture of Luxembourg, Fernand Etgen, presented the new law designed ‘to ensure the dignity, the protection of life, safety and welfare of animals. Etgen said:

“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.”

mink farm

Source: Joanne McArthur/ We Animals

The Luxembourg Government Council, states:

“Animals are no longer considered as a thing, but as gifted non-human living beings with sensitivity and holders of certain rights.”

Luxembourg is the 10th European country that has decided the t outlaw the cruel practice of fur farming. Read more about fur bans.

 

‘Fur Free Forever’ campaign kicks off in Belgrade, Budapest and Sarajevo

8 MAY 2018 – Last Saturday the South-East European Fur Free Forever campaign kicked off with a regional march in Sarajevo, Belgrade and Budapest. The march is also set to take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Saturday, May 12th and in Podgorica, Montenegro, on May 19th.

The campaign brings together hundreds of like-minded activists across the participating countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro, and Bulgaria – all united in a quest to seek national bans on fur farms amid a growing trend of outlawing fur farming around the globe.

This march comes in a particularly vulnerable time for the fur free efforts in the region, after activists in Bosnia and Herzegovina sustained a blow at the beginning of this year when the state parliament decided to postpone implementation of a previously adopted fur farming ban until 2028.

Meanwhile, the survival of Serbia’s fur farming ban has been brought in question, due to which region’s activists are now stepping up the efforts to raise awareness about the hazardous effects that fur industry has on animal welfare and environment.

Coordinator of the march in Sarajevo Maida Sabeta, founder of the FFA member organization ‘Anti-Fur Coalition’ from Bosnia and Herzegovina, explained that this organization’s initiative came in reaction to postponement of implementation of the country’s fur farming ban, and countries of South-East Europe without this ban or whose ban is in jeopardy joined in.

“The situation with awareness regarding the use of fur in Bosnia and Herzegovina is actually good. We are proud to say that there are far less fur coats seen in the streets of Sarajevo compared to Belgrade, where around 300 people marched today. Still, many unregistered fur farms present a huge problem here, and there is no official data on the number of fur farms.”

Coordinator of the march in Belgrade Filip Tesic, representing FFA member organization ‘Freedom for the Animals’ (Sloboda za Zivotinje), said that activists of the region now stand in defense of the 2009 law that established a fur farming ban in Serbia.

Tesic explained that Serbian fur farmers, who have been given a 10-year period for transitioning to more sustainable forms of production, were demanding extension of the transition period and even a complete abolition of the ban.

“Each year, a large number of animals are brutally killed on fur farms. The march should draw the attention of politicians and the public to this cruel practice, which deserves to be left in the past. This fact has been recognized by the majority of European countries.”

Budapest, Hungary

‘Fur Free Forever’ gathers animal welfare activists and environmentalists, who plan to carry on with the campaign until the last fur farm in these countries is closed. According to organizers’ specific expectations, fur farms in Serbia and Bulgaria should be completely banned by the end of this year, and the same should happen in Bosnia and Herzegovina within no more than two years.

[Source: PULSE.BA]

 

Make Fur History exhibition on tour in Bulgaria

SOFIA, 2 FEBRUARY 2018 – On 27 January, international experts and scientific scholars gathered in the capital of Bulgaria to discuss the negative impact of fur factory farming. The conference, hosted by Bulgarian Fur Free Alliance member CAAI, was part of the Make Fur History exhibition that was launched last week in Brussels and is now touring throughout Europe.

Next to the ethical concerns and animal welfare problems associated with fur farming, speakers addressed the detrimental effects of fur farms on the environment, biodiversity, and local communities. The conference, that was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Bulgarian Academy of Science and local environmental organisations, aimed to expose facts about how real fur is produced and why a fur farming ban is needed in Bulgaria.

Read more about the Make Fur History exhibition:
Make Fur History – A Landmark Exhibition at the European Parliament
Polish MEPs in Brussels speak out against fur farming
Make Fur History website

Polish MEPs speak out against fur farming in Brussels

BRUSSELS, 26 JANUARY 2018 – This week, Polish members of the European Parliament spoke out against fur farming during the well attended opening of the Make Fur History exhibition in Brussels. The event was an initiative of the Polish members of the ECR Group, co-organised by the Fur Free Alliance and Eurogroup for Animals, to show their support for fur farming bans in Poland and the in rest of the EU.

Poland is currently one of the largest fur producers in Europe. However, the anti-fur movement has increasingly been attracting a lot of attention following the footsteps of various other European countries. A recently proposed bill could make Poland the 14th European nation to turn its back on the extreme animal suffering on fur farms.

Jadwiga Wisniewska, MEP of the ECR Group and co-chair of the Animal Welfare Intergroup, said:

“There is no price that could justify the suffering of animals that are bred in these horrid conditions and killed with exceptional cruelty so that their fur is left undamaged. The exhibition is an opportunity to learn more about the large-scale damage of the fur industry on the environment, the public opinion about fur, and the impact on biodiversity and environmental degradation.”

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Polish Law and Justice Party – currently the largest governing party in the Polish parliament – expressed his support for fur farming bans in a video statement that was screened during the opening:

The three day Make Fur History exhibition aimed to build awareness among EU decision makers of the cruelty associated with fur production and the need for more national bans on fur factory farming. Visitors are confronted with facts on fur production, compelling photography and a virtual reality experience of the conditions on fur farms.

The opening was followed by a roundtable discussion – with MEPs, decision makers and civil society – and a cocktail reception. View the full program and the event poster.

Prof. Zdzislaw Krasnodebski, MEP of the ECR Group, said:

“This is a fundamental issue, concerned with cruelty against animals and protection of the environment. You cannot say that these are rightwing or leftwing issues or conservative in nature. These are cross-cutting issues, that cut right across the political spectrum. We have to deal with these problems together.

We do not want to turn animals into objects. It is not a semi-object or a by-product that we can deal with in the way we have seen in the exhibition. Hopefully we will not be seeing animals being bred for fur in the future at all.”

Watch the full roundtable discussion here:

Mark Glover, Director of Respect for Animals in the UK, adds:

“I can assure you that the Fur Free Alliance and Eurogroup for Animals are united in this. We are absolutely committed to seeing this campaign through. And as you have seen the exhibition is already attracting huge amounts of interest; here in Brussels, in Poland and around the European Union. This will be seen as a landmark in the campaign to bring this morally bankrupt industry to an end.”

Read more at: www.makefurhistory.eu.

Make Fur History – A landmark exhibition at the European Parliament

Brussels, 23 January 2018 – At a major exhibition in the European Parliament, which will be held from 23 to 25 January, the Fur Free Alliance and Eurogroup for Animals will expose the facts about how real fur is produced, and why more national bans on fur factory farming are needed in the EU.

This is a timely exhibition. It follows hot on the heels of major fashion houses, such as Gucci and Michael Kors, announcing fur free policies and Norway’s recent announcement that it will phase-out fur farming by 2025. The tide is turning against fur farming in Europe, as concerns about animal welfare, the impacts on biodiversity and the environment, and the ethics of fur continues to grow.

During the exhibition entitled ‘Make Fur History’, MEPs will be called on to support fur farming bans in EU Member States where fur production is still permitted, and to sign a Fur Free Pledge. Various countries in Europe have already introduced fur farming bans (the United Kingdom, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, and the Republic of Macedonia) and/or are presently phasing-out fur farming (the Netherlands, Czechia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Norway). There are still significant animal welfare problems and ethical concerns associated with fur farming, so further action is still needed.

The three day exhibition confronts visitors with a series of striking photographs and allows them to immerse themselves into the shocking reality of the fur farming industry through a virtual reality experience.

Mark Glover, Vice-chairman of the Fur Free Alliance says:

‘‘Opinion polls from a number of European countries have consistently demonstrated that the majority of citizens consider breeding animals for fur unacceptable. This exhibition allows us to reveal the reality on European fur farms, to present the facts about the animals bred and killed for their fur and to show why the fur industry belongs in the past. Although fur farming bans are becoming increasingly widespread, further action is needed.’’

The official opening of the exhibition will take place on 23 January followed by a roundtable discussion with MEPs, decision makers and civil society. One of Europe’s largest fur farming countries, Poland will be well represented throughout the event, where the anti-fur movement has increasingly been attracting a lot of attention.

Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals adds:

‘We want to build awareness among EU decision makers of the need for national bans, as well as the adverse effects of fur farming on animal welfare and the environment. We urge MEPs to sign the Fur Free Pledge, and aim for better enforcement of the Council Directive on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes (98/58/EC) and the Council of Europe Recommendation Concerning Fur Animals. We believe that this legislation and set of recommendations, if adopted, would bring an end to this cruel industry.’’

With consumers and retailers turning their backs on the cruel and unnecessary fur trade, this exhibition will be a valuable opportunity for European decision makers to keep pace with one of Europe’s fastest growing movements and make a positive change for animals.