: Member actions

Educational campaign ‘Animals Are Not Clothes’ tours Belarus

BELARUS, JUNE 2018 – Last month, the anti-fur educational publication ‘Animals Are Not Clothes’ was presented at the international scientific conference Sakharov Readings 2018: Environmental Problems of the 21st Century, in the Belarus capital of Minsk. The presentation was part of a long-term campaign, organised by FFA member organisation Ecoetika, that aims to create awareness among the new generation about the cruelty of fur production.

The ‘Animals Are Not Clothes’ campaign, that is supported by the Fur Free Alliance grant programme, has so far held educational events in the cities of Minsk, Brest, Gomel, Grodno and Kobrin and continues to tour the country.

Animal cruelty is a subject that has not gained much attention so far in Belarus. Although more than 150.000 animals are killed annually on fur farms in Belarus, the country does not have any legislation in place to protect fur-bearing animals and suffers from a general lack of awareness on animal welfare issues among the public.

Ludmila Loginovskaya, director of Ecoetika, says:

“We conducted a sociological survey in Minsk in September 2017, which showed that only 5.7% of the Belarusian citizens consider the inhumane nature of fur. Belarus is a post-Soviet country and needs a large-scale educational campaign to protect animals, since it is not yet accepted to think about animal welfare.”

To create more public awareness about the animal suffering in the fur industry, the ‘Animal Are Not Clothes’ campaign will continue to reach out to the young Belarusian generation and plans educational events on a number of festivals, such as the Festival of Books in Gomel, the Pasternak Ecological Festival in Minsk.

 

 

 

Protesters in Bulgaria march against fur farming

SOFIA, 24 May 2018 – Hundreds of Bulgarians gathered in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, on May 12th to make a public statement against fur farming. The protest march in Sofia, organised by Bulgarian Fur Free Alliance member CAAI, is part of the regional Fur Free Forever campaign that unites South East European countries – as Serbia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Montenegro – in their fight to end the cruel fur industry.

The Fur Free Forever campaign addresses the extreme animal suffering in the fur industry and the negative impact of fur farming on the environment and local communities. With an increased number of western European countries closing down its fur farms, the Fur Free Forever campaign gives voice to South East European citizens calling to ban the cruel and polluting fur industry in this part of Europe as well.

In March this year, a National Citizens’ Initiative campaign was launched to ban fur farming in Bulgaria. To gather enough signatures, in the months leading up to June, which marks the end of the Citizen’s Initiative campaign, several events are organised in Bulgaria, such as the Make Fur History exhibition and the Fur Free Forever regional march.

 

 

‘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

Czech fur farming ban passed in second reading

13 MAY 2017, PRAGUE – In its second reading the Czech Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of the amendment of the bill that bans the breeding and killing of animals for fur. The amendment was proposed by a number of Deputies led by chairman of the Czech Committee on the Environment,  Mr.Robin Böhnisch. The ban on fur farming in the Czech Republic is widely supported by the Czech population.

czech petition

A recent opinion poll showed that 83% of the Czech population is in favor of the ban. Early this month 46.000 signatures of Czech citizens supporting the ban were presented to the Chair of the Committee on Petitions of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, Ms. Zuzka Bebarová Rujbrová.

Petition in support of Czech fur farming ban

During the second reading of the bill , opinions with drafting proposals were presented by committees which had passed the amendment at the end of March. The drafting proposals of the Environmental Committee aim to include a one-off compensation which would mitigate the financial impact on the farmers.

The drafting proposals presented by the Agricultural Committee would make fur farming possible for farmers holding the WelFur program certificate. Lucie Moravcová of Svoboda zvířat (Freedom for Animals):

“Welfur is a very questionable tool for evaluating welfare of animals in fur farms. It was developed by the farmers themselves, and in our opinion (as well as in the opinion of many experts) it does not consider all the needs of animals in farms. Adopting this proposal would not bring about any positive change in fur farms in the Czech Republic – in fact it might result in the very opposite. Moreover, Welfur doesn’t at all address the extremely „inhumane“ ways of killing minks and foxes.“

Mr. Böhnisch adds that:

 “The drafting proposals adopted at the meeting of the Agricultural Committee, including the one promoting the WelFur program, were invalidated by the Parliamentary Institute, and were also criticised by the section of the Government Legislative Council of Jan Chvojka, Minister for Human Rights, as well as by the Pelikán Krofta Kohoutek law firm which I myself addressed. I hope therefore that in the third reading, the Deputies will no longer support them. During the second reading, I presented a drafting proposal, which reacts in particular to the legislative and technical criticisms of the government and proposes a new scheme of potential compensation to farmers. In order to make the law passable for the Group of the ANO party, the farms are expected to terminate their activities in January 2021.”

The Deputies will vote on the amendment and all drafting proposals in a third reading, which might take place as early as in mid-May this year.


arthur

Fur farming has already been banned in 8 European countries such as Great Britain, Austria or Croatia. Lucie Moravcová of Svoboda zvířat says:

„Every year, 20.000 minks and foxes suffer and die in Czech fur farms. Just like the opinion polls carried out in the past years, the most recent one showed that the majority of Czechs is against fur farming. We are convinced that the Deputies will finally hear the opinion of the public and will support the prohibition of fur farming.“

The opinion poll conducted by Focus also revealed that 82 % of adult Czech population do not agree with killing of animals for fur, and 81 % of Czechs believe that present society doesn’t need fur in fashion. Other questions of the poll focused on fur-related consumer behaviour. As the final report „Fur farming in the eyes od the Czech population“ of the agency Focus Marketing&Social Research shows, „only 6 % of the respondents stated they buy products containing genuine fur. 85 % of the respondents do not buy this type of products and 7 % are not able to distinguish between genuine and artificial fur.“ According to the poll, 77 % respondents expects products containing genuine fur to bear a clear marking on the label.

Illegal cat fur sold as faux fur on British high-street

10 APRIL 2017, LONDON—An investigation by Fur Free Alliance member Humane Society International/UK has discovered shoes containing real cat fur for sale on the British high-street by youth fashion chain Missguided.

The import and sale of fur from domestic cats and dogs has been banned across the EU since 2009, and Missguided is a vocal advocate of its fur-free policy. Despite this, laboratory tests confirmed that the pom-poms of fur decorating the shoe were cat fur [1]. The shoes, which have been on sale by the retailer both online and at its Westfield Stratford store, list only man-made materials on the label.

 cat fur sold as faux fur

Concerned shopper Donna Allison alerted HSI/UK to the shoes after suspecting they contained real animal fur, despite receiving an assurance from the store’s official Twitter account of their policy to only sell fake fur. In countries such as China – where the Missguided shoes were made – an estimated two million cats a year, including pet cats, are snatched from the streets and killed for their meat and fur.

HSI has contacted Missguided about the finding and has forwarded the information to Trading Standards and asked that the enforcement authority investigates the findings further in relation to the The Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008. Donna Allison said:

“I find it horrifying that Missguided and other retailers are selling real fur — in my case cat fur — and that they didn’t appear to take action when I raised my concerns about this serious issue. All retailers should be taking action to ensure complete traceability of their materials. It’s unacceptable that they are helping fund an industry where animals have to endure unimaginable cruelty and for something so unnecessary. I urge everyone to be more vigilant and understand how to identify and ensure they’re buying faux fur.”

Whilst trade in dog, cat and also seal fur is banned across the EU, and all fur farming has been illegal on moral grounds in the UK since 2003, imports of fur from a range of species such as fox, rabbit, mink, coyote, racoon dog and chinchilla can still be legally sold here. It’s a double standard that makes no moral sense, and yet as a member of the EU single market, unilaterally banning the trade of fur into the UK would likely have been challenged in Brussels and by EU member nations that continue to farm animals for their fur.

cat fur sold as faux fur

However, Brexit offers the opportunity to change that, and HSI/UK is calling on the British government to make the United Kingdom a fur-free zone by extending the cat, dog and seal fur bans to all fur-bearing species. A 2016 YouGov opinion poll [2] asked whether people found it acceptable or unacceptable to buy and sell fur from nine different species and found that, averaged across all species, only one in ten people believe it is acceptable to buy and sell real fur. Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, said:

“It is extremely concerning to find cat fur on sale illegally in the UK, both because of the cruelty that cat and all fur products represent, but also because it will rightly dent the confidence of consumers seeking to buy only fake fur. Fake faux fur is a growing problem; when items have cheap price tags and labels saying ‘100% acrylic’, consumers can understandably be caught out mistaking them for fake fur, when in fact they contain fur from a tormented animal. Independent stores, popular markets like Camden, as well as online retailers such as Amazon are awash with cheap animal fur-trimmed garments that are either mislabelled as ‘faux’ or not labelled at all. To properly protect both animals and consumers the government needs to take action to stop Britain’s insidious fur trade.”

The Missguided ‘fake faux’ fur shoes are the latest in a large number of similar items exposed by HSI/UK over the past couple of years, including several well-known high-street brands. Most recent items discovered by HSI’s secret shoppers from December 2016 – February 2017 include:

 *   another shoe style at Missguided that tested positive for rabbit fur;

 *   a pair of gloves at ‘fur free’ retailer House of Fraser that tested positive for rabbit fur;

 *   a range of shoes from Westfield Stratford store Primars all sold as fake fur but found in tests to contain fur from rabbit, mink and fox;

 *   a bobble hat sold on Amazon UK as faux fur but testing positive for raccoon dog or fox fur (this listing included an on-screen no-fur assurance); and

 *   another bobble hat sold on popular fashion boutique website Lily Lulu sold as “faux fur” online, labelled as 10% marmot on delivery but testing positive for raccoon dog fur when sent to the lab

In several cases where HSI’s secret shopper questioned staff in-store, they incorrectly confirmed items were faux fur. HSI/UK believes that most consumers would be horrified to discover they’ve inadvertently bought real fur. HSI’s Claire Bass said:

“We know that the vast majority of British people reject the inherent cruelty of the fur trade but at the moment they are not getting the right information as consumers to avoid it. Clear labelling of all fur is an obvious starting point that will likely reduce the UK’s fur trade significantly, but we don’t believe that goes far enough. Whether it’s fur from coyotes caught in the wild in agonising traps, raccoon dogs and foxes enduring miserable lives and painful deaths by electrocution on fur farms, or cats bludgeoned to death in China, we believe all fur is cruel and should be banned regardless of species. Morally, there is no logic to banning fur from some animals and not others, and Brexit means we could have the opportunity to reflect public opinion and make the UK the world’s first fur-free nation.”

Around the world in countries such as China, France and Poland, animals on fur farms can be subjected to the same terrible conditions as those the UK banned back in 2000, with the UK’s final fur farm closing in 2003. Beautiful wild animals are kept their entire lives in filthy, tiny cages, forced to endure physically and mentally damaging conditions before being killed and skinned for their fur. Wild animals such as coyotes fair no better, caught in agonising traps for hours or even days before they’re put out of their misery.