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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.

Czech Trade Inspection Authority: majority of fur items mislabelled

PRAGUE, 5 JUNE 2018 – The majority of fur items or fur-trimmed items in Czech Republic are mislabelled or not labelled at all. This alarming conclusion, that resulted from an investigation of Czech animal protection organisation Freedom for Animals in early 2017, is backed by new research results of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (CTIA).

Between November 2017 and January 2018, the CTIA conducted an inspection to examine whether fur labelling in Czech is carried out in compliance with the existing legislation. The results are alarming: only 2 out of 12 control samples were labelled correctly. Four items did not mention real fur at all; five items were not labelled in compliance with the Regulation No 1007/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on textile fibre names, and one item did not contain a label in the Czech language. The items that were tested were mainly jackets and hats with fur trim or fur pom poms.

cat fur sold as faux fur

The CTIA carried out this inspection following similar research by Freedom for Animals published in March 2017. In fall 2016, the organisation inspected and documented 53 items containing real fur, with alarming results. Lucie Moravcová, anti-fur campaign coordinator of Freedom for Animals, says:

“We found out that 81 % of the samples were not labelled as containing parts of animal origin or fur as they should be according to the relevant legislation.”

For the vast majority of Czech shoppers who reject the cruelty of the fur trade, trying to buy only fake fur can be a real challenge. A public opinion poll, conducted by Focus Agency and published in spring 2017, showed that 85 % of people are not interested to buy real fur and 77 % expect to find correct information on clothing labels. Moravcová adds:

“This topic is highly delicate for customers – the majority of people in the Czech Republic does not want to buy real fur. It is important to be aware of the fact that faux fur is increasingly similar to real animal fur both in appearance and touch as well as price. Thus, these characteristics, formerly used as a way of distinguishing real fur from faux fur, are not reliable anymore. It is clear that current legislation does not guarantee proper protection for the customers. We consider the regulation insufficient and we believe it should state in detail those parts of animal origin in question. However, the regulation must be observed in the first place.”

The Czech investigation was part of an European collaboration of the member organisations of the Fur Free Alliance. Across 10 countries in Europe, 667 textile products containing real fur were inspected. 68 % of the samples did not contain the required information. In September 2017, FFA representatives presented the results of the investigation to the Members of the European Parliament after which they met with the EU commissioners in March 2018 to stress the need to improve the legislation to ensure better labelling of real fur.

More than one year after the publication of the results, European consumers are still duped into buying real fur because a large part of fur items remain mislabelled or not labelled at all, as recent findings of Four Paws in Germany and the Humane Society International in the UK have proven once more.

The Fur Free Alliance will continue to address the high levels of non-compliance and the inadequacy of the current labelling legislation across Europe. The new evidence, as a result of the CTIA inspection, will   to the European Commission.

Jo Swabe, Senio Director of Public Affairs of FFA member organisation Humane Society International/Europe, says:

“The CTIA inspection confirms the results of investigations carried out by FFA member organizations in 10 European countries: huge number of products are not labelled in compliance with Article 12, Regulation on textile fibre names. We proved that the current legislation does not serve its purpose and it is time to take necessary steps to prevent further misleading practices as customers have the right to know what they are buying. The European Commission must act to ensure clearly labelled fur parts.”

The Czech society is increasingly critical towards fur production. The public concerns and concerns on animal welfare led the Czech Republic Senate to vote with an overhelming majority for a prohibition of fur farming in July 2019. The ban on fur farming will go into effect on February 1, 2019. With this decision, Czech Republic became the 9th European country to decide for a fur farming ban.

International seminar in Sarajevo on the impact of fur farming

Last Thursday international experts gathered in Sarajevo to discuss the negative impact of fur farming on animal welfare and the environment. The event, organised by the Fur Free Alliance in collaboration with the Anti-Fur Coalition Bosnia and Herzegovina, addressed the problems associated with any extension of the phase-out period of the Bosnian fur farming ban.

The seminar was attended by various stakeholders in the fields of veterinary science, environmental protection, agriculture and politics. Representatives of the social democratic party Democratic Front and the Bosnian Aarhus Center and Friends of the Earth expressed their intention to actively support a swift implementation of the Bosnian fur farming ban.

Invitation Sarajevo Seminar

In 2009 the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted for a law to prohibit fur farming after a 9-year phase-out period. Earlier this year, one year before the ban would take effect, a law amendment was proposed that would extend the ban for another 10 years. Organisations worldwide have since urged Bosnia and Herzegovina to stay committed to the 2009 Act and make an end to the cruel practice of fur farming in 2018.

Pawel Rawicki, a representative of the Polish organization Otwarte Klatki, discussed the negative impact of fur farming on local nature, communities and economy. Between 2012 and 2017 nearly 100 protests of local residents were held in Poland to prevent the building or expansion of fur farms. A severe concern for local residents is the heavy odor of fur farms that can be smelled up to 6 kilometers away. Fly nuisance in neighboring buildings is another major complaint of local communities. The Polish case, Rawicki stresses, presents a grim warning to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

‘Local industries and real estate value suffer from the presence of large fur factory farms, which are most often owned by foreign investors in Poland (…) The fur industry exploits weak economies in eastern European countries.

seminar+

Speakers from the UK, Croatia en Germany discussed how the inherent cruelty of fur farming – as a result of the confinement of active carnivores in small wire mesh cages – has led their governments to decide to end fur farming. The serious animal welfare problems and the ethical concerns of society are causing an increasing number of European governments to ban fur farming in recent years.

International organisations urge Czech Senate to end fur farming

16 JULY 2017, PRAGUE – This week 40 animal protection organisations worldwide co-signed a letter to call upon the Czech Senate to end fur farming.

The letter was handed over by Fur Free Alliance member organisation Svoboda Zvirat to Mr. Jaroslav Müllner, head of the secretariat of the President of the Senate, and urges the senators to do the right thing for animal welfare and implement a ban fur farming ban at their earliest opportunity:

“Legislation to prohibit fur farming is becoming increasingly widespread in Europe. The inherent cruelty of fur farming and the ethical concerns of a vast majority of the population have led many countries to close down fur farms in recent years. We are very pleased that the Czech Republic is at the forefront of that movement in Europe, as it considers prohibiting the cruel practice of fur farming.“

The letter will be distributed to all members of the Senate. Read the full letter here.

czech letter FOTO copy

The ban on fur farming in the Czech Republic is widely supported by the Czech population. A recent opinion poll showed that 83% of the Czech population is in favor of the ban and 85% does not buy fur products. Furthermore, nearly 46 000 Czech citizens signed a recent petition – and an extra 20 000 signed an electronic appeal – to express their support for a fur farming ban in the Czech Republic.

 

YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP announces fur-free policy

6 JUNE 2017 – YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP (YNAP), the world’s leading online luxury fashion retailer, has announced this week that it is adopting a fur free policy that will exclude all items and accessories made from animal fur.

The fur free policy, confirms the commitment of the Group to managing environmental impact responsibly, and follows a long- standing relationship with Fur Free Alliance members The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society International (HSI) and Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV).

Matteo James Moroni, Head of Sustainability at YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, commented:

“YNAP is on a very important journey towards managing environmental impact responsibly. This journey began with the launch of our first sustainability initiative, YOOXYGEN, in 2009. Our fur free commitment announced today was inspired by a thorough and rigorous educational process with the HSUS and LAV regarding the protection of animal rights. We aim to act as a catalyst for change in the industry, sharing knowledge, innovating and leading by example.”

Wild Fox

YNAP will continue to work closely with HSUS, HSI, LAV, and other leading animal and environmental protection organizations to keep the Group and its partners continually updated about fur and ethical sourcing.

PJ Smith, senior manager of fashion policy for The HSUS, said:

“We applaud YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP for demonstrating compassionate leadership in the luxury fashion industry. This move should encourage designers and other retailers to opt for stylish and functional alternatives to fur and to shed the cruelty associated with commercial trapping and fur farming.”

Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, commented:

“YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP going fur- free sends a truly powerful message across the fashion world, and to luxury brands in particular, that fur is very firmly out of fashion. Designers and fashion retailers that continue to sell fur are peddling a product of immense animal suffering, so it is thrilling to see such influential brands embracing fur free policies.”

With its decision YNAP has joined the international Fur Free Retailer Program of the Fur Free Alliance. The commitment ensures that YNAP’s multi-brand online stores promote commercial policies that are fur-free and in-line with animal rights. YNAP plans to continue collaborating closely with HSUS, HSI, LAV, and other leading animal and environmental protection organizations to keep the Group continually updated about fur and ethical sourcing.

Simone Pavesi, manager of animal free fashion for LAV, said:

“YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s commitment is a significant milestone that should stand as a leading example to the fashion world. It is a tangible signal that the clothing industry can be more sustainable and ethical, without necessarily resorting to the use of animal products.”