ZAGREB, 9 JULY 2015 – In July, the animal advocacy organization Animal Friends Croatia held a protest in front of the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture to give voice to the millions of Croatian citizens that wish to see a ban on chinchilla fur farming in Croatia. Since the breeding of animals for the purpose of fur was banned eight years ago – with a transition period of up to ten years – the number of chinchilla fur farms in Croatia has dropped significantly. Chinchillas are currently the only animals bred for fur in Croatia and over 73 percent of the Croatians are in support of a complete ban of fur farming. Seven years into the transition, the ban is now at risk.
Animal welfare problems on chinchillas fur farms are the result of the lack of environmental enrichment in nest boxes, a restricted access to sand baths, the limited height of cages and the large plastic collars worn by females. These issues often lead to stereotypical behavior problems and injuries.
Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Austria have adopted stricter regulations or completely banned chinchilla farming. The Council of Europe has stipulated a number of recommendations for the breeding of animals for fur. The implementation of these recommendations for chinchillas has led to chinchilla fur farms in Germany and Sweden to be closed down.
Fur farming is banned in the UK and Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Furthermore, the Netherlands is in the process of banning fur farming. Most recent developments show that multiple other European countries are acknowledging the fact that the practice of fur farming severely raises animal welfare problems. For this reason, the Republic of Macedonia implemented a complete ban on fur farming as of last year. In Belgium, the region of Wallonia has likewise banned fur farming as of January this year and consequently the region of Brussels is considering a ban. The acknowledgment of the inherent cruelty of fur farming is becoming more and more widespread and policymakers worldwide will not be able to turn a blind eye to their citizens’ concerns for much longer.