International momentum for a fur free world

In the wild, European minks live in a territory of several square kilometers. A historic breakthrough was reached in Dutch Parliament: a majority voted to ban the production of fur. The ban, to come in effect in 2018, has to be approved by the Dutch Senate.

This decision focused on mink fur production, but as the farming of foxes and chinchillas for their fur was banned in The Netherlands in the 1990s, this is in practical terms a total ban on all fur farming. This is a great success for WSPA member society Bont voor Dieren, which has campaigned for years to put a stop on fur farming in The Netherlands, the world’s third biggest producer of mink.

The Dutch decision is building momentum for a fur free society: Denmark recently banned fox farming, and Israel will soon consider a complete ban on fur. The Dutch banThe bill, proposed by the socialist and social-democratic party, will ban fur farming on ethical grounds. It argues that killing animals and infringing their welfare to make a non-essential product cannot be justified.

The ban foresees a phase-out period of ten years to compensate the fur farmers.
It is now up to the Dutch Senate whether the ban will come into effect – it is expected that they will make a decision this autumn. About mink farmingMink are typically confined in small wire cages, measuring 30 by 85 by 45 centimeters, devoid of swimming water. In the wild, mink are solitary predators, excellent swimmers and divers, and live in a territory of several square kilometers.

Without being able to develop their natural behavior, mink display apathy and stereotypical behaviour – clear signs of severe animal welfare problems. After seven months they are gassed and skinned: a short, miserable life for the non-essential luxury of a mink coat. Fur for AnimalsMany years of groundbreaking campaigning by WSPA member society Bont voor Dieren (‘Fur for Animals’) was pivotal to the Dutch Parliament’s ban. Their work integrated public actions, research, opinion polls, petitions, undercover investigation, cultural events, radio and television adds and a strong political lobby.

The Dutch RSPCA and WSPA supported the campaign, as did dozens of Dutch celebrities. Fur farming under pressure internationallyThe EU ban means the market for products made from seals like these, in Namibia, is dwindling© WSPAThe importance of a Dutch ban is enormous. After Denmark and China, The Netherlands is the biggest producer of mink, breeding and killing nearly five million animals annually. If The Netherlands indeed succeeds in ending fur farming, the message cannot be misunderstood: any country can end this cruel business.

A number of countries including the UK, Austria and Croatia have already banned fur farming, and others like Belgium and Ireland already show willingness to follow the example. In Israel, a bill to ban fur in its entirety – both production and trade – will soon be discussed in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Denmark recently passed a bill which will stop the breeding and killing of foxes for fur production. Earlier this year, the European Parliament decided to adopt a ban on the import of seal fur – following the example of Belgium and The Netherlands, both of which banned seal products within their borders.

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