A Guide To Fur Bans Around The World

Fur is cruel.

The conditions that fur farmed animals are kept in are atrocious, the methods to kill them inhumane.

All this horror for a product we don’t really need. Fur belongs to the animals.

Due to the overwhelming animal welfare science and ethical concerns, country after country has phased out or banned fur farming and a number of US cities have introduced sales bans on real fur, with similar proposals currently being considered elsewhere.  In recent years the majority of major fashion houses have gone fur free. See below for an overview of fur bans around the world..

FUR-FARMING BANS

Austria

In 2004, the Federal Act on the Protection of Animals outlawed the practice of fur farming across the country, becoming the second to do so (after the UK) and after a number of regional legislatures

Belgium

On July 21 2018, the Flemish government adopted a decree to end factory farming of animals for their skin. This historic decision, initiated by Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare, signified the end of fur farming in Belgium. The 17 remaining Belgian mink farms, all of which are located in Flanders, will need to close their doors by 2023.

This followed similar earlier bans in Wallonia in 2015 and Brussels in 2017.

This decision puts an end to the annual killing of 200 000 animals just for their fur in Belgium. Mink breeders will be compensated financially to transition to a more sustainable industry. The sooner they end operations, the higher they are compensated.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Respect for Animals has been closely involved in the campaign to end fur farming in Bosnia – Herzegovina since 2017 when a representative from RfA spoke at a Fur Free Alliance event in the country and again in 2019 at a Make Fur History event at the Bosnian Parliament in Sarajevo.

In 2009, Bosnia and Herzegovina passed an anti–fur farming law that would prohibit raising animals for their fur by the end of 2018. Despite the ban coming into force in early 2018, the deadline was retrospectively extended for another 10 years.

This is now being challenged as unconstitutional and will face legal action which will hopefully see the ban enforced much earlier.  In October 2019, the state veterinary authority announced that 60 chinchilla farms have already ceased operations, and the remaining fur farms will be closed by 2028.

Croatia

Croatia’s Ministry of Agriculture listened to the concerned public and animal rights groups and decided in 2006 to ban fur farms. After a phase-out period of 10 years, the ban went into effect in January 2017.

Czech Republic

In 2017, the Czech Republic passed an animal-protection law that would end fur farming by January 2019.

Respect for Animals worked closely with Czech campaigners and formed part of a delegation to the Czech parliament, which included Maria Eagle, the MP who first introduced the fur farming ban bill in the UK Parliament. Our gold-standard scientific report, The Case Against Fur Factory Farming, was translated into Czech and helped to secure the ban.

Japan

In 2006, Japan passed the Invasive Alien Species Act, which restricted the breeding of the non-native species American mink, raccoon, and coypu. The act essentially outlawed fur farming, with all fur farms now closed.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg passed a new animal welfare law in June 2018 which prohibits fur farming entirely- beginning in October 2018. While Luxembourg had no operating fur farms, this legislation prevents any from opening.

Macedonia

Macedonia introduced a three-year phase-out period of fur farms in 2014, making fur farming illegal as of 2017.

Netherlands

The Dutch Parliament voted for a ban on mink farming in 2013, with a phase-out period meaning the end of the production of mink fur by 2024. The ban followed an effective and prolonged campaign by anti-fur organization Bont Voor Dieren

The Netherlands had been the fourth biggest fur farming country in the world after China, Denmark and Poland. On 160 mink fur farms, employing some 1400 people, nearly 6 million animals were killed for fur each year in The Netherlands at the time the ban was passed.

The law states that is illegal to breed and kill animals for fur since it cannot be ethically justified. In 2024, after an 11-year changeover period, the needless suffering of animals on fur farms will finally have come to an end in the Netherlands.

In 1995, the country became the first in the world to ban farming foxes for their fur, after which it banned farming chinchillas for fur in 1997.

In a historic 2016 ruling the Dutch Supreme Court decided that the mink farming ban does not conflict with human rights, as was claimed by the Dutch mink farmers, and shall be upheld. This final verdict ended a long court battle between the Dutch Federation of Fur Holders and the government in an attempt to overturn the ban. The ruling sets a significant legal precedent for other EU countries that are currently considering fur farming bans.

Norway

Norway introduced a total ban on fur farming in 2018 and will phase out fur farms entirely by 2025. At the time of the ban, there were around 200 fur farms in Norway.  In 2017 there were 773,000 mink killed on Norwegian fur farms, as well as 140,000 foxes.

The inherent cruelty of the fur industry become a major issue in Norway in the years before the ban. In late 2016, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority announced that their inspectors had been shocked by high level of violations and injuries on Norwegian fur farms during their inspections. On one farm, caged mink were found with such large open sores that they had to be put to death at the scene.  Other chronic animal suffering recorded included one mink who had crawled into a plastic pipe and all but skinned itself alive in its desperate efforts to free itself.

Norway now sets an example to the other Scandinavian governments in Denmark, Sweden and Finland.  Denmark kills at least 17 million mink every year on factory farms, only surpassed by China. Finland is one of the world’s largest producers of fox fur and Finnish fur farmers have been globally shamed following the recent exposure of obesity in factory farmed foxes. This is done to generate a larger pelt and to boost profits for the fur trade.

Serbia

 In early 2019, it was confirmed that Serbia had banned fur farms after a 10-year phase-out. The enforcement of the ban was the successful result of a decade-long struggle during which fur industry lobby groups consistently put pressure to reverse the ban.

The proposed ban, which came into force on 1 January 2019, was seriously under threat for much of 2018. Rattled by recent major advances by the anti-fur movement, the fur industry placed huge pressure on the Serbian government to delay the fur farming ban. Respect for Animals’ director Mark Glover travelled to Belgrade in June as part of a delegation from the Fur Free Alliance, to help convince politicians to keep the ban as planned and raised vital media awareness about the issue. Respect for Animals produced a letter to the Serbian Embassy, with was shared and signed online by thousands of compassionate people in the UK.

Chinchillas were the only animals kept for fur in Serbia. The intense battery cage system used on fur farms deprives chinchillas from the opportunity to express their natural behaviour – such as running and jumping – and causes severe welfare problems.

Ultimately, Serbia’s government listened to the concerned public and animal rights groups and made an end to the unnecessary and cruel practice of fur production, sparing thousands of animals unimaginable suffering on Serbian fur farms.

Slovakia

The Slovak National Council (the Slovakian parliament) approved a ban on fur production in the Autumn of 2019. The legislation, that will go into effect in 2021, passed with an overwhelming majority vote of 107 out of 150 from across the political spectrum and includes a phase-out period for existing farms until 2025.

The ban was proposed by SNS (Slovak national party) after the second-largest online campaign in Slovakian history (coordinated by Hum<nny pokrok), which collected more than 76,000 signatures in under 6 months.

The campaign involved the exposure of fur farm in northern Slovakia, where film evidence exposed horrible conditions of mink without proper access to water, with open wounds, repetitive behaviour and signs of cannibalism. Slovakia had only one operational mink farm, with a capacity of up to 5000 animals.

Slovenia

In 2013, Slovenia passed a progressive animal-protection law that banned the farming and hunting of animals for their fur and hides. Existing farms were given a three-year phase-out period.

United Kingdom

Respect for Animals led the campaign to ban fur farming in the UK and it is one of the greatest achievements of the organisation that the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to ban fur farming in 2000.

The ban was grounded in public morality and a response to overwhelming public support for ending the cruel practice of breeding and killing animals for their fur. The ban initially covered England and Wales, but Scotland and Northern Ireland followed in 2002.

Respect for Animals is proud that its success in the UK has since been a beacon of inspiration to campaigns for fur farming bans all around the world.

Japan

In 2006, Japan passed the Invasive Alien Species Act, which restricted the breeding of the non-native species American mink, raccoon, and coypu. The act essentially outlawed fur farming, with all fur farms now closed.

PARTIAL BANS

Denmark

Denmark adopted legislation in 2007 to improve the welfare of fur-bearing animals that included a number of welfare improvements for foxes on fur farms. In 2009, the country passed a ban on fox farming, with a phase-out period that lasted until 2017 for a majority of farms and a longer period until 2023 for farms where the main income comes from fox farming.

Hungary

In 1998, Hungary passed the Animal Protection and Tolerance Act, which states that “animals shall not be killed for reasons and under circumstances that are unacceptable or intolerable.” However, the act was not applicable to fur farming until later modifications were made. In 2011, the country declared that only chinchillas and angora rabbits can be farmed for their fur.

STRICTER REGULATIONS

A number of countries may not have passed legislation banned fur farming, but instead introduced regulations for animal welfare that meant fur farms were no longer economically viable- forcing the fur farms to close. A key point to take away from this is that fur farming depends on keeping animals in terrible cramped conditions in order to make a profit. There are no ‘free range’ fur farms. Every fur farm is a factory farm, keeping its animals in barren wire cages.

Sweden          

Sweden’s Animal Protection Ordinance of 1995 prohibits caging foxes and makes it a legal requirement that fur farmed foxes have the opportunity to be active, to dig, and establish social interactions with other foxes. This ordinance had the effect that fox farming was no longer economically viable in Sweden, and the remaining fur farms have shut down.

Switzerland

Switzerland’s legislation allows animals to be kept in captivity only under conditions that are equivalent to those required in modern zoos. Therefore, fur farming became unprofitable and no longer exists in the country.

Italy

Italy passed stricter animal-welfare laws regarding fur farming in 2008. Foxes and chinchillas on fur farms must have pens located on the ground—not cages—as well as nest spaces, objects to play with, and water to swim in. Because of these restrictions, the last chinchilla farm in Italy shut down in 2012.

Germany

In 2017, Germany passed for stricter regulations that effectively made fur farming economically unviable. As a result of those regulations and the pressure of public opinion, the country’s last fur farm closed in April 2019, and fur farming in Germany ceased.

Spain

In 2007 Spain adopted stricter regulations to prevent ecological damage of escaping mink from fur farms. Since the American Mink is a serious threat to the Spanish biodiversity as an invasive alien species it is no longer allowed to build new fur farms in Spain to breed American mink.

NEXT TO BAN?

Republic of Ireland?

In 2019, following a campaign by Respect for Animals and other Irish groups, the Irish cabinet approved to phase-out fur farming. The legislation is still being prepared and has yet to be voted on in the Dail.

The Irish government was under pressure after all opposition parties backing fur farm ban and this pressure was intensified by the results of an independently conducted opinion poll by Red-C and commissioned by Respect for Animals. The poll found that 80% of people in Ireland want fur farming to be banned.

The cruelty of the fur industry was further exposed by the publication of a new report from Veterinary Ireland. The report considered all the scientific evidence and concluded that, on animal welfare grounds, ‘there should be an immediate ban on the farming of mink, and similar wild animals, for the production of fur’.  Veterinary Ireland’s report relied on a comprehensive scientific review published by Respect for Animals, The Case Against Fur Factory Farming, which was launched at the European Parliament.

Respect for Animals looks forward to the day when fur farming in Ireland is a thing of the past.

There are currently three mink farms in Ireland – a decline from five in the last decade.  These three farms breed and kill approximately 150,000 mink a year in shocking, caged conditions.  Economic records show that the industry has low and declining economic value in Ireland.

Bulgaria?

A Bill to ban fur farming in Bulgaria has been put forward. Recently Respect for Animals joined other animal protection organsaitions in handing a letter to the Bulgarian Embassy in London, supporting a fur farming ban in the country.

For a number of years now, a campaign against the influence of fur farms has taken place in Bulgaria.  Recently, Respect for Animals’ Mark Glover spoke at an exhibition organised by local animal protection group CAAI, which exposed the facts about how real fur is produced and why a national ban on fur farming is needed in Bulgaria. A petition containing more than 50,000 signatures has also been handed to authorities.

Sign our letter to the Ambassador encouraging an end to the cruelty of fur farming: http://www.respectforanimals.org/urge-bulgaria-to-ban-fur-farming/

IMPORTATION AND SALES BANS

European Union and the United Kingdom

Respect for Animals was a leader in the campaign at European level to ban the imports of domestic cat and dog fur and the seal hunt products. The seal hunt import ban came into force in 2010 and has resulted in hundreds of thousands fewer seal being horrifically slaughtered.

Respect for Animals director Mark Glover extensively documented the horror of the Canadian seal hunt, helping to convince the general public and legislators that an import ban must be introduced on moral grounds.

Canada and Norway filed a complaint before the WTO seeking to overturn the ban, but the ruling upheld the ban.

Many other countries have adopted seal hunt product import bans, including joining the United States, India, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan.

California State
In September 2019, it became the first state to ban fur trapping.  Then, a month later, history was made in October 2019, when California became the first state in the US to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur clothing and accessories. The legislation comes into force in 2023.

Los Angeles
In September 2018 the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban fur sales. The fur trade ban will go into effect in 2021.

San Francisco
In March 2018 San Francisco became the second major US city to ban fur sales.

West Hollywood
West Hollywood was the first city in the world that decided to ban the sales of fur in 2011. The ban came into force in 2013, when the value of fur sales in West-Hollywood was estimated at two million dollars annually.

Other US Cities

The momentum for fur sales bans is spreading in the US. Legislation to ban fur sales is proceeding in cities like Minneapolis, although proposals for a ban in New York City are currently on hold. Also, Hawaii is making progress to become the second US to ban fur, as is Rhode Island.

India
In January 2017 India adopted an import ban on mink, fox and chinchilla fur skins.

Sao Paolo
In 2015 Sao Paolo adopted an import and sales ban on fur products. In 2014 the State of Sao Paolo already decided for a fur farming ban, in spite of Brazil being one of the biggest producers of chinchilla fur in the world.

United Kingdom…?

Can the UK again make history by being a global leader against the cruel and unnecessary fur trade?

We believe so. We want to see a Fur Free UK.  Please contact your MP and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 267 supporting a fur import ban!

More details here: http://www.respectforanimals.org/early-day-motion-267-ban-fur-imports/