Animal welfare organisations launched an initiative for a ban on fur farming and marketing of farmed fur products in the EU on Wednesday.
The Fur-Free Europe European Citizen Initiative (ECI) was officially registered by the European Commission two months ago and will run from 18 May for one year. It has already collected 50,000 signatures. The aim is to
collect at least 1 million signatories in at least seven EU Member States.
A previous initiative to prohibit the use of cages for farmed animals was supported by 1.4 million citizens across all Member States and resulted last year in a Commission decision to put forward a legislative proposal. The new initiative has a good chance of succeeding, with the several Member States already in favour of a ban on fur farming.
13 Member States have totally or partially banned or strictly regulated fur farming, sometimes with phasing-out periods. There is also support for the Fur-Free ECI in the European Parliament. “Confining wild animals in small wired cages for the insignificant purpose of fur production should be consigned to the past,” said Dutch MEP Anja Hazekamp, Animal Welfare Intergroup President, last year.
The Netherlands has recently a ban on fur farming already in 2013. The industry was due to be phased out by 1 January 2024, but the government was forced to an early shutdown of its mink industry due to outbreaks of COVID-19 on its remaining fur farms. The most recent country to join the list was Ireland, which in March 2022 finalised legislation for a ban and is expected to close all farms this year.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to finally end this cruel and unnecessary practice,” commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals. “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.”
The new ECI aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on keeping and killing of animals for the sole or main purpose of fur production and placing farmed animal fur, and products containing such fur, on the EU market.