Today (20 July 2023) the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) organisers formally met with the European Commission (EC) to present the case, and signify the importance of a full harmonised ban on fur farms and on the placement of farmed fur products on the European market.
Respect for Animals Director, Mark Glover, spoke at the event on the animal welfare argument for banning fur farming across the EU, bringing decades of experience and expertise to prove to key decision makers at the EU level that the cruel fur industry belongs in the past.
It’s now up to the European Commission to provide a formal reply to the 1.5 million citizens who have called for a Fur Free Europe, in the most successful European Citizen Initiative related to animal welfare.
More than 1.5 million citizens asked for a Fur Free Europe, and 19 Member States have already totally or partially banned fur farming on grounds of animal welfare and public health: a clear sign is being sent to the EC that this practice cannot be justified under any circumstances.
The call was also recently reiterated by a majority of Member States during the last session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) and has been publicly supported by a number of members of the European Parliament.
By the end of 2023, the EC will publish a proposal aimed at improving the EU’s animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence. The organisers reiterated once more that while it’s possible to improve welfare standards for domesticated animals, science has clearly shown that this is not possible for wild animals on fur farms. Consequently, a ban on fur farming should be included in the proposal.
In addition, fur farms pose significant risk for the spread of zoonotic diseases, putting both humans and animals at risk, a fact which became widely evident during recent COVID-19 outbreaks. Banning the placement of farmed fur products on the EU market will ensure that fur produced under similarly cruel conditions in third countries is not allowed to be sold within the EU.
“As the EU is preparing to take a giant leap for animals, and with the set revision for the Kept Animals Regulation, this is a great opportunity to show that such cruel unjustifiable practices have no place in Europe. Citizens have made their voice loudly heard, and for this democratic tool to be successful, we expect a positive response from the EC soon,” commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals.
Mark Glover, Respect for Animals, said:
As long ago as 2001, the Commission’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare published a comprehensive report on fur farming. It concluded that:
Since current husbandry systems cause serious problems for all species of animals reared for fur, efforts should be made for all species to design housing systems which fulfil the needs of the animals.
In the 22 years since then, nothing has changed in the way animals are kept. The fur breeders have had plenty of time to make improvements, as required by the report, but none have been made. The conditions remain the same. The animals are still confined to small, barren wire cages and they continue to suffer, just as they did back in 2001.
The fact is there are no changes that can be made. The cages are designed for the efficient operation of the fur farms – not to meet the behavioural needs of the animals kept in them.
There are inherent problems with fur farming that cannot be resolved. The science is clear and is summarised in our updated report.
It concludes that ‘The welfare of mink, foxes and raccoon dogs in current housing systems is severely compromised across all five domains’, resulting in ‘a life not worth living’.
After the autumn hearing at the European Parliament, the EC will provide a formal reply to the ECI by mid-December.
READ our new report here.