Latvia bans fur farming

In the final and deciding vote, the Parliament of Latvia, known as Saeima, supported a complete ban on the breeding of fur animals in Latvia, which will enter into force in 2028. Over the last 10 years, the animal rights association “Dzīvnieku brīvība” has campaigned for the ban on fur farming, backed by 42 thousand people and 50 non-governmental organizations, who have all signed an open letter to the Saeima.

On September 22, 2022, in the third and final reading, the Saeima adopted the amendments to the Animal Protection Law with an overwhelming majority of votes (70 for, 3 against). The amendments were submitted to the Saeima on September 9, 2021 by 11 MPs from different political parties. Over the course of the year, the Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee evaluated various proposals and supported the wording of the law, which prohibits the breeding of fur animals and stipulates that fur farmers will not receive financial compensation, subject to a 5-year transition period.

Taking into account previous international cases, the members of the commission recognized this transition period as sufficient and adequate compensation for entrepreneurs, and that, in accordance with the principles of the rule of law, it would give fur farmers sufficient time to gradually end their activities and recover their investments. Accordingly, the ban will enter into force on January 1, 2028.

“This is a historic moment for animal rights in Latvia – a huge victory for both animals and the people,” comments Katrīna Krīgere, Head of the “Dzīvnieku brīvība” association. “By prohibiting the imprisoning and killing of animals for their fur, we, the people of Latvia, affirm our values ​​and respect for animals as living beings. We show that, in our country, compassion and reason are more important than greed and ostentation. After all, our attitude towards the vulnerable – animals – is a mirror of our own humanity.”

Currently, at least 300,000 mink, as well as several hundred foxes and chinchillas, are killed for fur in Latvia every year. The number of fur farms operating in Latvia and the number of animals bred in them has been decreasing in recent years. For example, the total number of animals in Latvian fur farms in 2017 was 617 thousand, in 2020 – 580 thousand, in 2022 – 274 thousand animals.