: Our work – fur farming

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.

 

 

 

Belgrade’s Make Fur History event counters fur trade’s propaganda

BELGRADE, 8 JUNE 2018 – Yesterday, the Make Fur History exhibition took place in the Serbian capital Belgrade and brought together international experts, lawmakers and media representatives to discuss the negative impact of fur farming. The exhibition, that was hosted by our local Serbian partner Sloboda za Zivotinje, exposed the scientific facts about the factory production of animal fur and stressed the urgency of maintaining the Serbian national ban on fur factory farms.

The timely exhibition follows just days after the Serbian parliament discussed a cancellation of the Serbian ban on fur farming during a “public session” on Tuesday, from which non-governmental organizations were entirely excluded. The ban was to go into full effect in 2019, after a 10-year phase-out period. However, blatant propaganda of the fur trade lobby, such as scandalous misinformation on animal welfare and fur farming legislation across Europe, has persuaded the Serbian government to consider withdrawing the 2009 law.

Maida Sabeta, campaign coordinator of the south-east European Fur Free Forever campaign, says:

“Chinchilla fur farming is a very small sector in Serbia, with sparse economic benefits and hardly any law enforcement. Maintaining this industry means supporting a gray economy or even black economy in Serbia.”

The event aimed to counter the false information spread by the fur trade by addressing animal ethics and welfare – in particular the welfare problems of chinchillas, the main species reared for fur in Serbia – the legislative progress in Europe and why the fur industry’s own welfare indicators, WelFur, are not in line with good animal welfare.

Along with local campaigners Mark Glover, board member of the Fur Free Alliance and Respect for Animals Campaign Director, took part in the roundtable panel:

“The arguments for Serbia to maintain its ban on chinchilla farming are overwhelming and the eyes of the world are now firmly focused on what happens next. It would be a tragedy if the bizarre campaign by the fur trade, based on insulting supporters of the ban, was to succeed. The Fur Free Alliance will do everything it can to ensure the ban comes into force next January 1.”

Prof. dr. Stevan Lilić, Professor of Law Faculty at the Belgrade University, stated:

“The issue of chinchilla fur farming is above all a moral issue. Serbian lawmakers are now pushing hard to overturn the law that was passed to ban this practice in 2009. Their motivation to cancelling the 2009 legislation is entirely unjustified.”

The Make Fur History exhibition was launched in the European Parliament in January this year and is meant to supply lawmakers with scientific evidence about the negative impact of fur farming on animals, the environment and local communities and the urgency for more national bans.

NGO’s denied access to Serbian public session on fur farming ban

BELGRADE, 4 JUNE 2018 – Fur industry groups have upped their lobbying of the Serbian government to debate a cancelation of the Serbian fur farming ban in a public session scheduled for tomorrow, June 5. Due to heavy pressure and a campaign of misinformation of the fur lobby, the fur farming ban – that should go into effect in 2019 – is now at a severe risk. By denying all animal protection organisations access to the public session, the Serbian government is shockingly undermining the principles of democracy.

With a 10-year phase-out period, Serbian fur farmers have been given the opportunity to transition to a more economically stable and sustainable industry. With less than one year left before the transitional period runs out, any change to the previously agreed upon legislation would raise serious questions regarding the Serbian legislative process.

The Fur Free Alliance urges the Serbian government to stay true to its legislative commitment to ban the farming of animals for their fur, and save sentient beings from a cruel life and death. Read our full letter to the Serbian government.

Chinchillas are they only animals kept for fur in Serbia. The intense battery cage system used on fur farms deprives chinchillas from the opportunity to express their natural behaviour – such as running and jumping – and causes severe welfare problems. International studies have shown behavioral disorders, such as stereotypies, pelt-biting and infant mortality, are highly common on chinchilla fur farms. Learn more about welfare problems on chinchilla fur farms.

The public session about the fur farming ban is scheduled just two days prior to the Make Fur History expo, that will take place in Belgrade on Thursday, June 7. The exhibition – that was launched in the European Parliament on January 23 and is now touring Europe – invites lawmakers and stakeholders to discuss the negative impact of fur farming on animals, the environment and local communities and shows the urgency for more national bans.

 

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]

 

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.