Speaking today at a meeting of the European Parliament's inter-group for the welfare and conservation of animals, Mark Glover of "Respect for Animals" presented a new report on "The case against fur factory farming", which shows why fur farming should be banned.
The report (which can be seen here) looks in detail at the conditions in which mink and foxes are kept in fur farms and examines the scientific evidence regarding their welfare. It concludes that fur farming contravenes European legislation covering animals kept for farming purposes (Council Directive 98/58/EC) and fails to meet the standards set by the Council of Europe (Recommendation concerning fur animals, adopted on 22 June 1999).
The report also examines the labelling and animal welfare scheme (Welfur) promoted by the fur industry and finds them inadequate and unable to ‘address the major welfare issues for mink and foxes farmed for fur’.
The report’s authors believe it is time to ban fur farming. Professor Stephen Harris of Bristol University says: “Foxes and mink farmed for their fur are wild animals, not domesticated and it is impossible to meet their most basic welfare requirements in factory.
Mark Glover for Respect for Animals says: “In 2001 the European Commission produced the most comprehensive report ever on the welfare of animals kept for their fur. It concluded that the ‘current husbandry systems cause serious problems for all species of animals reared for fur,....’ and made a large number of substantive recommendations. Fifteen years later the fur trade has done next to nothing to improve the conditions for the animals and their suffering continues. Our new report examines all of the recent research and its conclusion is stark: the case for banning fur farming is overwhelming.”
Fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000 on the grounds of public morality but fur factory farms in EU countries continue to produce more than half of all fur in the world.
Following the ban on fur factory farms adopted earlier this month in the Netherlands, some operations are simply moving to countries like Romania, where the operators think that citizens are less aware of the problems associated with this trade. It is therefore important to ensure that consumers are informed about what is happening, to ensure that the demand for fur in fashion is reduced. It is also important that every member state in the EU takes action on a national basis both to educate their citizens, and to respect our European values to protect the rights of wildlife.