Latvia bans fur farming
23 September 2022
On 22 September, Latvia’s Saeima passed the final amendments to the country’s Animal Protection Law. Farming animals for the main or sole purpose of fur production will now be prohibited, with the ban is expected to come into effect on 1 January 2028.
Over the last 10 years, the animal rights association Dzīvnieku brīvība has campaigned for the ban on fur farming, backed by 42,000 citizens and 50 NGOs, who have all signed an open letter to the Saeima.
The amendments regarding farming of animals for their fur were submitted to the Saeima on September 9, 2021 by 11 MPs from different political parties. Now the Saeima has adopted the amendments to the Animal Protection Law with an overwhelming majority of votes (70 for, 3 against).
Over the course of the year, the Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee evaluated various proposals and supported the wording of the law, which prohibits the breeding of fur animals and stipulates that fur farmers will not receive financial compensation, subject to a 5-year transition period.
Taking into account previous international cases, the members of the commission recognised this transition period as sufficient and adequate compensation for entrepreneurs, and that, in accordance with the principles of the rule of law, it would give fur farmers sufficient time to gradually end their activities and recover their investments. Accordingly, the ban will enter into force on January 1, 2028.
This is a historic moment for animal rights in Latvia – a huge victory for both animals and the people. By prohibiting the imprisoning and killing of animals for their fur, we, the people of Latvia, affirm our values and respect for animals as living beings. We show that, in our country, compassion and reason are more important than greed and ostentation. After all, our attitude towards the vulnerable – animals – is a mirror of our own humanity.
Katrīna Krīgere, Head of Dzīvnieku brīvība
Currently, at least 300,000 mink, as well as several hundred foxes and chinchillas, are killed for fur in Latvia every year. The number of fur farms operating in Latvia and the number of animals bred in them has been decreasing in recent years. For example, the total number of animals in Latvian fur farms in 2017 was 617,000, in 2020 – 580,000, and in 2022 – 274,000 animals.
Latvia has now become the latest EU member state to ban fur farming, joining Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and most recently Malta and Ireland.
The European Citizens’ Initiative Fur Free Europe is calling for a ban of fur farming across the European Union, as well as a ban on the sale of farmed fur products. Do you support this ban?