Bratislava: Last week, the National Council of Slovak Republic (Slovak parliament) discussed in the first reading the proposal to ban fur farming in the country. It has passed the first reading with overwhelming support of 120 votes out of all 150 MPs, which means that 80 % of all MPs supported the proposal in its first big step in the legislative process. The ban was proposed by Eva Antošová (SNS – Slovak national party) after the country has seen the second-largest online campaign in the history called Ide o chlp and conducted by an NGO Humánny pokrok, which has collected more than 76,000 signatures in under 6 months. The campaign followed publishing of investigation footage from a fur farm in northern Slovakia, which had exposed horrible conditions of minks without proper access to water, with open wounds, repetitive behaviour and signs of cannibalism. The public had responded with outrage and after a couple of months, the first ban proposal was introduced to the parliament.
Slovakia is one of the countries in Central Europe which still has no fur farming ban in effect. There is one operational mink farm with a capacity of up to 5000 animals and 8 farms breeding rabbits for fur. The proposal introduces a ban on farming and killing of all animals farmed exclusively or primarily for fur, with exception for rabbits farmed for fur by individuals for their personal use. The ban would go into effect immediately and would ban establishing of new fur farms in the country while providing a 3 year phase-out period for the existing ones.
Slovakia has seen fur farming ban campaigns in the past but without success. In the meantime, their neighbouring countries have seen a lot of progress, including fur farming ban in Austria and recently in the Czech Republic, and with vivid ongoing campaigns and political discussions in Poland and Ukraine. “The time has come for Slovakia to stop lagging behind the rest of Europe and to deal with this cruel and obsolete industry. The public is clearly requesting a quick and effective solution and we aim to deliver it in the upcoming months. Politicians shouldn’t ignore the call of more than 76 000 citizens to end this excessive and unnecessary cruelty and we are happy to see the first important steps taken in parliament on the path to the end of fur farming in Slovakia”, added Martin Smrek from Humánny pokrok.
In the upcoming months, the proposal should be discussed by parliamentary committees and approved by the European Commission. Afterwards, the second reading is planned and the final vote should take place during the last session of the current parliament, expected to take place at the beginning of 2020. The last step will be signing of the law by the president, who already voiced her support for the fur farming ban shortly after the launch of the campaign. After that, Slovakia would become the 14th European country passing a ban on fur farming.