Had this through from friend and animal buddy Mark (Glover) at Respect For Animals.
Have put this on the site as it is very important action against fur farming; and 1 Million signatures need to be obtained during the next year for EU action on this citizens initiative. This can only be signed by citizens of the EU; so if you are one of them, please do it and pass on the link to all your contacts.
Please note – ONLY EU CITIZENS can sign this – here is the citizens initiative / petition link:
Animals on fur farms live in intense confinement, in row upon row of small barren cages. They suffer from self-mutilation, infected wounds, missing limbs and cannibalism. Fur farming contravenes even the most basic concept of animal welfare.
The European Citizens’ Initiative “Fur Free Europe” calls on the EU to:
Ban fur farms
Ban farmed fur products from the European market
Be part of achieving history!
Act now by adding your name to the Initiative.
This is not just a petition. Once we reach 1 million validated signatures, the European Commission is obliged to respond and take action.
No, we have still never had a response from the Danish Embassy, London, After our letter. It takes up to 40 dumb animals to make a fur coat – but only one even dumber one to wear it.
Danish mink breeders have turned their backs on the industry en masse after being forced to cull their animals over fears a Covid-19 mutation could pose a risk to humans. In November 2020, Denmark announced it would cull approximately 15 million animals, with the government temporarily banning mink farming and breeding for fur until 2023.
Danish mink breeders have turned their backs on the industry en masse after being forced to cull their animals over fears a Covid-19 mutation could pose a risk to human health.
In November 2020, Denmark, at that point the world’s largest mink producer, controversially announced it would cull approximately 15 million animals due to fears a Covid-19 mutation moving from mink to humans could jeopardise future vaccines.
The Danish government temporarily banned mink farming and the breeding of the animals for their fur, later extending the ban until 2023.
Officials have now said just a handful of producers in the country have chosen to resume business if the ban lifts in 2023. Greece, Poland and North America are now expected to increase production to make up the shortfall.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (FVST) told the Guardian only 13 breeders had applied for the compensation that would allow them to potentially continue breeding mink in 2023. Another 1,246 breeders applied for the compensation to end their mink farming.
The FVST said, since the cull, it had found three cases of illegally farmed mink, two in December 2021 and one in February 2022. It added that £2.1bn had been paid out in compensation to the industry after the ban.
The Danish government is expected to issue a decision later this month on whether mink breeding can safely restart next year. It remains possible that limited breeding may be allowed.
International Fur Federation CEO, Mark Oaten, was upbeat about global mink farming, pointing out that all North American mink have now received Covid-19 vaccinations, and that a European vaccination programme is under way. He was pessimistic, however, about Denmark. Even if breeding is allowed to continue next year, Oaten sees three barriers to its resumption.
“The first problem is that the infrastructure has disappeared in Denmark, so it’s very hard to get hold of the feed,” he said. The second difficulty is that the government’s decision on a restart is being made only after the compensation deadline, making any restarts “a huge gamble”. A third factor, he said, is a generational issue, with many farmers reaching retirement age.
More broadly, Oaten said it was a “hugely complex time” for the fur sector, with sanctions and lockdowns in two of its biggest markets, Russia and China, coming on top of the Danish mink shortfall of about 10 million pelts.
In the longer term, Oaten said: “We are expecting countries like Greece and Poland and North America to help fill that shortfall [of pelts] but that will take a few years.” Nor does Oaten fear further bans in Europe, partly, he said, because of the negative fallout the Danish government faced for its mink cull.
Animal welfare campaigners said legislative proposals to ban fur farming are now under consideration across Europe, including in Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria, with compensation being a key issue.
Live mink can no longer be legally imported or bred in Bulgaria, following concerns over threats to native ecosystems and biodiversity from escaped animals.
On 1 June, the Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water Borislav Sandov announced that he had signed the order to bring the ban into effect.
The decision was taken based on concerns over the environment and biodiversity, as the risk of American mink (Neovison vison) escaping from fur farms poses a serious threat to native species.
Conditions at the only mink farm in our country are unfavourable and are the reason that in recent years mink have escaped to enter territories of wildlife and cause damage.
Borislav Sandov, Minister of Environment and Water
The American mink is now widespread throughout the European Union and has caused significant adverse impacts on native wildlife, after individuals escaped from fur farms.
According to the Ministry, the species is included in the list of 100 most dangerous invasive alien species in Europe and is a priority invasive alien species for Bulgaria.
We thank Minister Sandov for this really important and very useful decision for the nature of Bulgaria. This decision is based on scientific and expert data on the damage from the breeding of the species American mink. At the same time, it is a solution that will prevent huge damage to wildlife and end the suffering of millions of American minks that are bred for their fur in cruel conditions! It’s just a ban order, but it’s so important to nature and the animals.
Petya Altimirska, head of CAAI
Whilst this ban will effectively render mink farming impossible in Bulgaria, it does not cover other species commonly farmed for their fur such as foxes, chinchillas and raccoon dogs.
Our member CAAI is calling for a wider ban on the breeding and keeping of any species for the purpose of fur farming in the country.
The European Citizens’ Initiative Fur Free Europe asks for a ban on all fur farming and the placement of farmed fur products in the European Union.
Eurogroup for Animals, along with its members and other organisations, today supported the launch of the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) Fur Free Europe: in one year they will have to collect one million signatures to finally end fur in Europe.
The Fur Free Europe ECI calls on the EU to ban fur farming and the placement on the market of farmed fur products, since fur is unethical, unsafe and unsustainable:
The complex behavioural needs of wild animals cannot be met in fur farms: keeping them in small cages and killing them solely, or mainly, because of the value of their fur cannot be legitimised for domestic species either.
Fur farms pose a risk to animal and human health, as proved during the COVID-19 pandemic, when hundreds of mink farms were affected by coronavirus outbreaks, and new variants of the virus were transmitted from animals to humans.
Fur farming has a significant environmental impact since the dressing and dyeing of fur involves the use of toxic chemicals. In terms of land pollution by toxic metals, fur production is ranked in the top five highest pollution-intensity industries.
The fur industry also poses a serious threat to native biodiversity, with some farmed species, like American mink and raccoon dogs, which escaped from fur farms and are now considered Invasive Alien Species (IAS) causing significant adverse impacts on European native wildlife.
At a meeting of the Council of the European Union (Agriculture and Fisheries) the Netherlands and Austria tabled an information note, supported by Belgium, Germany Luxembourg and Slovakia, calling on the European Commission to ban fur farming. The call to end fur farming in the EU on the grounds of animal welfare, public health and ethical considerations, was backed by a total of twelve Member States during the deliberations on this paper.
The ECI Fur Free Europe was officially registered by the European Commission on 16/03/2022 and will run from 18/05/2022 for one year.
We have an unprecedented opportunity to finally put an end to this cruel and unnecessary practice. European citizens have been asking for it for a long time, and their wishes started changing the fashion system, with many historic brands going fur free. Last year’s AGRIFISH Council proved that now there is also a political will. We call on the public to help us make history and ban fur once and for all, and on the European Institutions to support the public demand.
The Statens Serum Institut has published their long-awaited health assessment regarding the reopening of Danish mink farms. The government of Denmark currently has a temporary ban on mink breeding in place until 2023 following a COVID-19 outbreak in several hundred mink farms, which resulted in the country’s entire mink population being culled.
The health risk assessment from the Statens Serum Institut was commissioned by the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Rasmus Prehn. In the report, the potential dangers to public health in various scenarios following the reopening of the mink industry in Denmark are assessed.
The report concludes that, in principle, public health is not in imminent danger, but variants of COVID-19 could arise in mink populations, resulting in viral “reservoirs” which vaccines may not effectively protect against. This scenario presents a high public health risk.
Earlier this year the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a joint statement confirming the risks of “animal reservoirs” of SARS-CoV-2. Farmed mink have been shown to be capable of infecting humans with the virus.
Although the probability of a new variant of concern is very low, why take the chance at all? Mink production will be reopened, where predators will be locked in small cages to use their fur. Why run a risk at all when there are so many good reasons not to take it.
Britta Riis, Director, Animal Protection Denmark
According to Animal Protection Denmark, mink breeders themselves have little incentive to continue production: only 15 mink breeders, about one percent, have chosen the dormancy scheme, where they can reopen their mink farms following the temporary ban. The remaining Danish mink breeders have chosen expropriation.
1243 mink breeders have applied for compensation for shutting down their operations completely, while 15 have applied for the dormancy scheme. The latter may still change their decision and opt for expropriation until 21 December 2023.
Animal Protection Denmark has long argued that mink production is unethical. The organisation points out that mink are active predators, which in the wild defend territories, often covering several kilometres and stretches of water. On mink farms, however, they spend their entire lives in very small and barren wire cages, where they are deprived of their basic natural behaviour.
Our past links relating to the Danish fur situation:
1924 – The League was founded by Henry B. Amos to oppose rabbit coursing – he was successful in achieving a ban. This resulted in the organisation expanding its remit to include other blood sports – such as fox, hare and deer hunting.
He first became interested in vegetarianism in about 1886.
1975 – A bill seeking to ban hare coursing, supported by the League, was passed through the House of Commons, but did not receive approval in the House of Lords.
1978 – The League secured legal protection for otters, including a ban on hunting them. The aquatic mammal was up until that point hunted with packs of hounds, one of the reasons for their numbers declining.
1992 – The League helped secure the Protection of Badgers Act, which expanded the protection of the mammals themselves to their setts. The homes of badgers are illegally targeted for several reasons, including being blocked by fox hunts to stop animals being pursued by hounds fleeing underground.
2002 – Fox, hare and deer hunting and hare coursing was banned in Scotland under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, which was introduced by MSPs following campaigning by the League and other animal protection organisations.
2004 – Fox, hare and deer hunting and hare coursing was banned in England and Wales under the Hunting Act 2004. The legislation was introduced by MPs following campaigning by the League and other animal protection organisations.
2005 – The Hunting Act 2004 came into force – making fox, hare and deer hunting and coursing illegal across England and Wales.
2005 – The Waterloo Cup hare coursing competition held its final meeting at Great Altcar in Lancashire, closing after 169 years following passage of the Hunting Act.
2006 – A huntsman with the Exmoor Foxhounds was found guilty of illegally hunting foxes with dogs in a private prosecution brought by LACS, but the case was overturned on appeal.
2007 – Two members of the Quantock Staghounds were successfully prosecuted by the League following chasing a deer across Exmoor.
2008 – Two members of the Minehead Harriers pleaded guilty to chasing a fox with a pack of hounds in a private prosecution by LACS.
2009 – The League announced a new campaign against dog fighting, amidst news reports that there is an increase in dog fighting in London.
2014 – The League celebrates 90 years of campaigning against cruelty to animals in the name of sport. Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that there have been 341 convictions under the Hunting Act 2004.
2015 – Prime Minister David Cameron offered a free-vote on repealing the Hunting Act, backing down shortly afterwards following pressure form the League, MPs and other animal protection organisations.
2015 – Cross-channel ferry companies stop shipping pheasants and partridges from French factory-farms to British shooting estates, following an investigation and lobbying by the League.
2018 – Conservative Party drops its manifesto commitment to offer a free-vote on repealing the Hunting Act following pressure from the League, meaning no Westminster party any longer supports repealing the hunting ban.
2018 – Scottish Government announces intention to strengthen the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, which bans hunting with hounds in Scotland, following pressure from the League and other animal protection organisations.
2018 – Welsh Government bans pheasant and partridge shooting on public land following campaigning and pressure from the League and Animal Aid.
2018 – The Labour Party backs calls made by the League to strengthen the Hunting Act – including prison sentences for those who chase and kill wild mammals.
2020 – In January 2020, an employment tribunal in Britain ruled that ethical veganism is a “philosophical belief” and therefore protected in law. This is the first time an employment tribunal in Britain ruled this. This case was in regards to vegan Jordi Casamitjana, who stated he was fired by the League due to his ethical veganism.[12
ROYAL SOCIETY for the PROECTION of CRUELTY to ANIMALS (RSPCA)
The society was the first animal welfare charity to be founded in the world.
Founded on the 16th June 1824, by Richard Martin, William Wilberforce and the Reverend Arthur Broome, at the Old Slaughter’s Coffee House, near Trafalgar Square, London, who together agreed that the neglect, cruelty and abuse of animals was unacceptable.
Now very close to its 200th anniversary; and going stronger than ever.
Wilberforce was an advocate and staunch campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade; which he achieved shortly before his death:
The legislation will now go to the President, who will sign it into law.
There are currently 3 operational fur farms in the country, which are expected to be closed during the course of 2022 after the success of the bill.
Respect for Animals conducted a poll regarding public opinions of fur farming amongst people of Ireland in 2018. 80% of respondents agreed that the farming and killing of animals for their fur should be banned.
In 2021, several other European countries took steps to implement national bans on fur farming, including Italy, Estonia and France.
Ireland finally takes a historical step and joins the increasing number of European countries that say no to fur farming, a practice that has no place in a society that genuinely cares for animal welfare.
Bethania Malmberg – Programme Officer Fur Animals, Eurogroup for Animals
This is a historic day for animal welfare in the Republic of Ireland and another nail in the coffin of the cruel and callous global fur industry. A critical report by Veterinary Ireland considered, in depth, the scientific evidence regarding mink farming 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’. It is essential that legislators around the world – including at EU-level – take urgent action to end the cruelty of fur factory farming once and for all.
WAV Comment: I have included 2 articles here for your review. As an Englishman (Brit); I feel that it would be political suicide if the UK government betrayed the animal welfare targets and promises which it made. On a positive note, (see second article), it would appear that the trophy hunting import ban will be brought forward in coming months – this parliamentary session, which would see the Bill becoming law.
But bans on the import of foie gras and fur items seem a little more uncertain; with politicians such as ‘rich boy’ Jacob Rees-Mogg and others opposing such actions. At the end of the day, the next UK national (General) elections to form the next government will be held on 23 Jan 2025. This gives us plenty of time to remind politicians of the cruelties involved with foie gras and fur production; and to continue pushing for the bans, regardless of the Rees-Mogg’s !
The British government must lead the way on animal welfare
Wildlife campaigners including Duncan McNair, Peter Egan and Stanley Johnson call on the government to keep its manifesto commitment to an animals abroad bill, targeting cruel and unethical tourism
Quite apart from the welcome promise of an end to trophy hunting imports, the bill’s other leading measures are greeted across parties and the whole country. These include a ban on domestic advertising of venues abroad where elephants and other endangered species – big cats, apes, bears, dolphins – suffer extreme brutality in tourism, with the UK market taking a shameful lead.
Crucially, the bill would steer the market towards ethical tourism, throwing a lifeline to many endangered species and countering claims that cruel exploitation by rides, tricks, games and hunting provide important revenue to certain countries. The 1,000 and more UK-based operators promoting this cruelty contribute nothing to protect humans or animals at these venues. Nor, apparently, have any ethical improvements been made during pandemic downtime.
It is in the government’s own interests to take a principled lead over other nations and introduce the bill, restoring a fair claim to be showing the way on animal welfare. Duncan McNairSave The Asian Elephants,Sonul Badiani-HammentFour Paws UK,Claire BassHumane Society International UK, Paul ChristianProtect All Wildlife,Peter Egan, Stanley JohnsonPatron, Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, Andy KnottCEO, League Against Cruel Sports, Steve McIvorWorld Animal Protection, Maria MossmanAction for Elephants UK, David NealeAnimals Asia Foundation, Ingrid Newkirk Peta, Nick PalmerCompassion in World Farming UK, Ian RedmondEcoflix
Eustice said the government was “absolutely committed to” bringingthe bill forward.
The government has said the bill has been delayed, claiming parliament does not have enough time this session to pass the law. Eustice said it would be a priority piece of legislation when the new session opens later in spring.
“While we won’t be introducing the animals abroad bill in this session as we are out of time, we will be looking at a range of vehicles for legislation on these important issues in the next session,” said Eustice.
Eustice said: “I know you’re probably going to ask me what’s going to happen on fur and foie gras but I can’t do that today.” Government sources have said the proposed bans are to be stripped from the animals abroad bill. Instead, they will likely have to be brought forward as private members’ bills, sponsored by individual MPs, and will no longer be a Conservative party commitment.
Queen guitarist and animal welfare campaigner Brian May said he was disappointed by the government weakening animal welfare legislation.
He told the Guardian: “I am disappointed. I’m always disappointed when it comes to animal welfare bills. We need to look at our attitude when it comes to animals – there’s so much talk by this government, they’re always making grand promises, but there’s so little action. Time and time again legislation which would protect animals is torpedoed. Or they take bits out and make it toothless and not fit for purpose.”
The joint statement, released on 7 March, by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organisation (WHO) reinforces that farmed mink have been shown to be capable of infecting humans with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It recommends prioritisation of monitoring SARS-CoV-2 infection in wildlife and preventing the formation of animal reservoirs.
Three years into the pandemic, the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants continues as the virus evolves.
In a new statement from the major global health bodies WHO, FAO and OIE, the risks associated with potential animal reservoirs are laid out, including the risks from both domestic and wild animal populations. The infection and spread of the virus in animal populations could lead to the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants that are then passed back to humans.
In addition to domestic animals, free-ranging, captive or farmed wild animals such as big cats, minks, ferrets, North American white-tailed deer and great apes have thus far been observed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2.
In 2021, Eurogroup for Animals and the Fur Free Alliance released a scientific statement on public health risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 and intensive mink production, signed by numerous scientists from the fields of virology, infectious diseases, clinical microbiology, veterinary medicine and environmental health.
Mink farms, where thousands of mink are housed together in high density, constitute high risk potential reservoirs for SARS-CoV-2 as well as for associated mutations.
FAO, OIE and WHO are calling on all countries to take steps to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission between humans and wildlife with the aim of reducing the risk of variant emergence and for protecting both humans and wildlife.
Although EfA welcomes the above mentioned recommendations, it has been shown that monitoring measures haven’t been enough to contain the spread of the virus in fur farms in the EU. In a letter sent to the Commission in June 2021, EfA and FFA expressed their concern about how fur farmers have been systematically breaching the biosecurity rules recommended by the OIE4 in some Member States. After the implementation of new EU rules to ensure harmonised monitoring activities, new outbreaks of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were detected in European fur farms.
Future spillover between animals and humans can thwart the efforts to eliminate or control the disease. EU mink farms must not become a reservoir for future spillback of SARS-CoV-2 from animals to humans.
Another recent study has found SARS-CoV-2 related viruses in trade-confiscated pangolins in Vietnam. It shows just how much a reform of wildlife policy is required to control the risks of future pandemics, and how wildlife trade risks spillover from viruses that are not detected with current screening methods.