BELGIUM, 23 JULY – On July 21, the Flemish government has adopted a decree to make and end to the factory farming of animals for their skin. This historic decision, initiated by Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare Ben Weyts, signifies the end of fur farming in Belgium. The 17 remaining Belgian mink farms, all of which are located in Flanders, will need to close its doors by 2023.
In a statement released on Saturday, Ben Weyts states:
“Fur-farming was recently banned in both Wallonia (2015) and Brussels (2017), but this ban is just symbolic really: there are no fur-farms in Wallonia and Brussels anyway. Flanders still has 17 fur-farms, which have authorisation for 325 000 animals. More than 200 000 animals are still killed in these farms every year.”
Michel Vandenbosch, director of Belgian animal protection organisation GAIA, says:
“Breeding and killing animals for fur is no more of our time. A fact which is supported by a large majority of the Flemish citizens.”
Opinion polls have consistently shown that the Belgian population does not consider fur farming acceptable. The most recent survey, conducted in 2015 by Ipsos, shows that 85% of the Flemish citizens are in support of a ban on fur farming.
The new decree aimed to outlaw extreme animal cruelty also includes a ban on force-feeding or “gavage”, the technique to produce foie gras.
Fur farming bans are spreading rapidly across Europe. Just one month ago Luxembourg adopted a law that prohibits fur farming starting October 2018. Norway, once the world’s largest producer of fox pelts, voted to outlaw fur farming in January this year. While five months earlier, in August 2017, the Czech Republic decided for a ban on fur farming that will become effective in 2019.
This compassionate decision will spare more than 200 000 animals from a miserable life and death on a fur farm. Mink farmers will be compensated financially to transition to a more sustainable industry. The sooner they will end their operations, the higher they will be compensated.