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An interview with Jennifer Hamerman, Director of the European Campaign for Animal Rights

We met with Jennifer Hamerman in Brussels to learn more about the European Campaign for Animals and their 2016 campaign to ban fur farms in Europe.


IFBG: Why have you chosen banning fur farms as this year’'s campaign?

Jennifer Hamerman: Fur farming involves animals that are essentially wild and solitary by nature, such as the mink, living in captivity in cramped, overcrowded and dirty wire cages.  This is no life for a wild animal and such cruelty often results in psychotic behaviour and self-harm by the animals.  Their deaths on these farms are especially grim too.  Being placed one by one into boxes to be gassed and anal electrocution are common methods.  This industry is torturous and has no place in a civilised society.

IFBG: But there is a demand for the products?

Jennifer Hamerman: There are so many wonderful natural and synthetic alternatives to fur now.  We simply cannot justify wearing it –not for warmth nor fashion!  If the famous mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington says he would not choose fur for warmth on an expedition then I do not think there is any justification for the rest of us to be wearing fur.  And I will take Stella McCartney’'s word that it is not stylish to wear a fur
coat.  It is true that a move to ban fur farms also needs to be coupled with an awareness campaign so that the public is made fully aware of the cruelty involved.

IFBG: What is your reaction to the Netherlands finally achieving its fur farm ban after a long battle?

Jennifer Hamerman:  Of course the news this autumn that a ban has been achieved in the Netherlands is wonderful.  I am British and am pleased to say that the UK, as well as Croatia and Austria have also achieved bans.  It is great that the Dutch have joined us.  But this still leaves large areas of Europe where fur farming still takes place.  Dutch companies can and already are simply moving their operations elsewhere in Europe.

IFBG:  Where in particular will you be focusing your campaigning efforts this year?

Jennifer Hamerman:  Romania is a big concern for us.  We already see Dutch companies moving there as the ban in the Netherlands progresses.  There are 153 fur farms in Romania.  Perhaps these companies think Romania is a soft touch because they are not one of the most wealthy countries?  Maybe they think Romanians are not sensitive to animal rights?  Neither of these things should be true.  No Romanian I have met thinks it is acceptable to cage a wild mink in a tiny dirty cage and use these appalling killing methods. And Romania, with its highly educated workforce and high tech innovation, hardly needs to resort to accepting this horrible practice in her territory.  The country should not tarnish its reputation by allowing this animal torture to take place there when it is banned elsewhere.  We’'re calling on Romania to take a stand.

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