: Public opinion

Czech fur farming ban signed by President Zeman

5 AUGUST 2017, PRAGUE – On August 1, the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, signed the amendment of the animal protection law that will make an end to fur farming. The ban on fur farming has now been adopted definitely, and will become effective on the first day of the second calendar month following its publication.

Wild foxes

The amendment bans fur farming in the Czech Republic as of the 31st of January 2019 and will provide compensation to farmers to support their long-term obligations. Despite the heavy debate in both the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate, the amendment was adopted nearly unanimously – 132 votes in favor and 9 against in the Chamber of Deputies in June and 39 votes in favor and 3 against by the Senate in July. In both cases, amendment proposals were rejected that suggested the adoption of WelFur certificates, an extension of the transition period or increasing the compensations provided to farmers.

Ms. Lucie Hemrová of Svoboda zvířat (Freedom for Animals):

“We would like to thank the Czech legislator for having lent an ear to the voice of the public, who sees killing of animals for purposes of fashion as an unethical relic of the past. This is a true milestone in the history of protection of animals, a victory of compassion towards other living creatures, who feel pain and who suffer. We are thrilled with the news!”

Nine farms in the Czech Republic, keeping approximately 20 000 mink and foxes in total, will be affected by the ban. Animals on fur farms are kept in poor conditions and killed cruelly by electrocution or suffocation by exhaust gas. Moreover, the adoption of the amendment banning fur farming is in line with public opinion – according to an opinion poll carried out in the spring this year by the Focus agency, 83 % of Czechs are in favour of the ban of fur farming.

Lithuanians march against fur farming

13 FEBRUARY 2017 – Last month Lithuanian citizens took the streets to protest the extreme animal cruelty in the fur industry.  Around 1000 participants gathered on the Gediminas Avenue in Vilnius to raise public awareness on the ethical problems associated with fur industry. The march was an initiative Fur Free Alliance member Open Cages (Tusti Narvai).

Lithuania

The march was meant to support the action of the member of Lithuanian Green Party, Linas Balsys, who recently registered an amendment of the Animal Welfare and Protection Law which would essentially ban rearing and killing animals for fur if it was introduced. The amendment in question will likely be voted on during the Parliament spring session.

March against fur in Lithuania

 The march for animals attracted people to join from all over Lithuania, as well as international participants from Germany, UK, Denmark and Latvia. Supporters of both the Green party and the Liberals could be seen holding protest signs. And several Lithuanian celebrities joined in.Gabija Enciute, one of the founders of Open Cages in Lithuania, commented after the rally near the Parliament:

“We are happy that so many people came. There must be some kind of political and social maturing going on. More people than ever seem outraged enough with the failing of the law to go out into the streets. Seeking to defend the weak – in this case, the animals – is a true sign of a mature society. We are trying to change the legislation, and we’re hopeful that Lithuania too will join the growing group of European countries that have banned the intrinsically unethical practice of fur farming”

Currently there are about 200 fur farms operating in Lithuania that altogether cause about 2 million animal deaths every year. The rally was organised in order to encourage the Lithuanian MPs to vote for the amendment in animal welfare legislation and draw their attention to the environmental and animal welfare problems in the fur industry. A 2016 representative poll shows that two thirds of the Lithuanian citizens don not support fur farming.

Lithuania2

 

Estonian population against fur farming

ESTONIA, 5 FEBRUARY 2017 –  69% of the Estonian population does not support raising and killing animals on farms for fur and 75% of the Estonians disapprove of the use of animals in circuses, as was found in the latest survey by Kantar Emor.

According to the survey, that was commissioned by the animal advocacy organization NGO Loomus, 81% of women and 55% of men disapprove of raising and killing animals on farms for fur. 82% of women and 67% of men disapprove of the use of wild animals in circuses. 69% of Estonians and Russians disapprove of raising and killing animals on farms for fur. 83% of Estonians and 58% of Russians disapprove of the use of wild animals in circuses. Kadri Taperson, the manager of Loomus, says:

“Estonian residents’ support for ending animal exploitation in circuses and on fur farms is growing year by year. In comparison to the survey conducted a couple of years ago, the number of people who disapprove of fur farms has grown by 11%. In March 2014, 43% of the people in Estonia thought that wild animals should not be used in circus acts. So, the number of these people has grown by as much as 32% in two and a half years,”

854 People aged 15-74 years participated in the national omnibus survey conducted in December 2016 by Kantar Emor.

Public opinion polls in Europe show high percentages of the population that consider raising and killing of animals for fur unacceptable:

Public Opinion map

Read more about the public opinion against fur farming.

 

Court upholds legal ban on fur farming in Wallonia

BRUSSELS,  26 OCTOBER 2016 – The Walloon ban on fur farming is consistent with the Constitution, according to a ruling of the Belgian Constitutional Court which was published earlier today.  The decision follows a request for annulment by Belgian fur farmers and European fur traders.  They argued that the Walloon ban adopted last year was unconstitutional. ‘The Constitutional Court now confirms that animal welfare and fur farming are not compatible,‘ says Michel Vandenbosch, President of GAIA:

We are very pleased to hear this. What keeps the Flemish Government and the Flemish Animal Welfare Minister, Ben Weyts, who supported his Walloon colleague in this matter, from following the good example of Wallonia and put an end to the 16 remaining fur farms in Flanders?’

Read the full verdict (EN-FR) here.

mink ban walloniaIn their complaint the fur farmers and traders argued that the decree unlawfully restricted their right to property as defined in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Constitutional Court disagrees and deems animal welfare more important.  ‘A European precedent,‘ states Anthony Godfroid, the lawyer of GAIA, who represented the animal rights association. ‘Animal welfare is not only a legitimate criterion to restrict the right to property, the ruling of the Constitutional Court sets an important European precedent to safeguard the basic rights of animals. Moreover, it is quite remarkable that Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts supported his Walloon colleague in this matter.’ Michel Vandenbosch is pleased:

‘The successful collaboration between both Animal Welfare Ministers makes me feel hopeful about a future ban on fur farming in Flanders following the example of Wallonia, Brussels and several European countries. 85% of the Flemish population agrees that animals should not suffer or be gassed or killed in any other way for their fur. So when will fur farming end in Flanders?’

In Belgium, only mink are bred and gassed for their fur. Every year, 160.000 mink are locked up in small, barren ‘shoebox’ cages. The 16 existing Belgian fur farms are all located in Flanders.

International experts discuss fur farming ban legislation in Czech Parliament

PRAGUE, 25 OCTOBER 2016 – Last Thursday an international seminar took place in the Chamber of Debuties in Prague to discuss legislation concerning fur farming bans. The seminar, which was organized by animal protection organization Svoboda Zvirat and supported by the  Fur Free Alliance, gathered experts on the political and legislative process, and the scientific grounds, of banning fur farming in support of a new bill in Czech Republic. The event was held under the patronage Robin Böhnisch, member of parliament and Chairman of the Committee on the Environment, who proposed the bill. Robin Bönisch fur farming ban
There are currently 9 fur farms in Czech Republic where minks and/or fox are bred. In spring of this year, a group of 50 deputies, led by Chairman of the Committee on the Environment Robin Böhnisch, submitted a draft law that would completely ban these farms:

‘Breeding and killing animals primarily for fur is no longer acceptable in the 21st century. Species like mink and fox can not be successfully domesticated. Therefore I welcome the powerful coalition across the political spectrum that the Chamber of Deputies has formed to support this proposal.’

Seminar Czech fur farming ban

Among the speakers was globally recognized expert on the ethology of foxes Professor Stephen Harris and Maria Eagle, former UK Minister, who introduced the private members bill to ban fur farming in the UK:

‘Breeding animals for fur is cruel. Civilised society should not tolerate this unnecessary suffering, and I believe politicians will pay due attention to the topic and that the Czech Republic will join the other European countries and have banned these antiquated practices.’

fur-free-alliance-in-prague10

View the presentation ‘Case against Fur Factory Farming’ by Professor Stephen Harris.

Other speakers at the seminar included Dr. Holger Herbrüggen – veterinary inspector in Austria, where fur farming was banned in 2005 – and Inez Staarink, Policy Advisor on Agriculture, Nature, Animals and Food in The Netherlands, who was involved with the parliamentary process of passing the mink farming ban into Dutch law:

‘Vanity as a goal does not justify the suffering and killing of animals.’

Read the presentation ‘Why fur farming is being banned in the Member States’ of Inez Staarink,

 

According to opinion polls the majority of the Czech and the European public considers killing animals for fur unacceptable. A fur farming ban in Czech Republic would therefore be in line with public interest, according to Lucie Moravcová from Svoboda zvířat, the hosting organization of the seminar:

‘The aim of this seminar is to provide the Czech legislator,  the State Veterinary Administration and professional public with the information and experience regarding the approval and implementation of laws banning fur farms in countries where similar legislation already exists.’

The first reading of the bill will take place on the 8th of November. Fur farming is already banned in 8 European countries and 5 more countries are currently having parliamentary debates about fur farming bans.

Estonian fashion designers support a ban on fur farming

ESTONIA, 6 OCTOBER 2016 – For the first time in Estonia, local fashion designers stand up to support a ban on fur farms in a campaign run by the animal advocacy organization Loomus. This project is a part of the long-term campaign “I am on the side of animals!”, which supports the ambition to submit a bill to the parliament that would ban fur farming in Estonia.

The campaign includes fashion designers Reet Aus, Margaret Kodusaar, Kalle Aasamäe, Kätlin Kikkas, Perit Muuga, Marilin Sikkal, Tiiu Roosma and Kadri Vahe. The author of the photos is Juta Kübarsepp, designs are made by Tõnis Aaliste.

Margaret KodusaarAll the fashion designers, who stood up in the campaign, also joined the international Fur Free Retailer program, in which the participating designers, fashion houses, clothing chains and stores do not produce or sell products made of real fur.

By establishing fur free principles, the Estonian fashion designers join famous high-end brands and store chains such as Armani, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, H&M, Esprit, Lindex, Etnies, O’Neill and others. Altogether about 300 companies across the world have joined the program.

In 2014, a national petition to ban fur farms in Estonia gathered more than 10,000 signatures from the citizens of Estonia. At the end of 2014, Loomus took the signatures and the corresponding memorandum to Riigikogu, the parliament of Estonia. After numerous public discussions and analyses, the Rural Affairs Committee that was supposed to decide the fate of fur farms in September this year, has decided to postpone the decision and ask for an opinion from the government of Estonia.

Reet AusAn international petition to ban fur farms in Estonia has already gathered more than 28,000 signatures.

Today, fur farming is banned in the United Kingdom, Austria, Croatia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fur farming is partially banned in Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and New Zealand. According to a survey conducted by TNS Emor, 58% of the Estonian population do not support fur farming.

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