Despite industry statements that assessments are undertaken by an independent third party, the Finnish Fur Breeders ́ Association owns 38% of the stock of the company Luova which states it is in charge of auditing Finnish fur farms, and several of its assessors also have ties to the fur industry.
Being industry-funded and led by countries with major industry-interest, WelFur seems more like a project aimed at validating fur farming as a means of livelihood than at developing better welfare for animals. In the 2010 annual report of the Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association, both WelFur certification and the advisory services on animal welfare offered to fur farmers are presented as reputation management and methods of tackling the political pressure on fur farming. When concern for the welfare of animals is not an end in itself but a means to an economic and political end it should be treated with scepticism.
Current European fur farming practices are incompatible with basic animal welfare standards and EU law. WelFur, which is designed around the intensive cage-based system and the current minimum level of legislation, does not offer satisfactory solutions to the serious animal welfare problems associated with fur farming. Decision-makers must therefore refrain from endorsing WelFur, or in any way integrating it into animal welfare policies.