ACtivities & Achievements
#FurFreeEurope – what has happened so far
FOUR PAWS and the pan-European animal advocacy organisation Eurogroup for Animals are convinced that an EU-wide ban on fur farms is overdue. It is an outdated industry for the production of unnecessary, easily replaceable fashion items with dramatic impacts on animal welfare, humans and the environment.
In May 2022, a European Citizen's Initiative was launched to reach 1 million validated signatures for the EU to take action and discuss the ban of fur farming and the sales of farmed fur.
What is an ECI?
A European Citizen’s Initiative (or ECI for short) is not simply a 'regular' petition, but a unique and effective way for EU citizens to help shape the future by calling on the European Commission to propose new laws. If an ECI is successful, the European Commission is obliged to respond and act, which means that it is a way for Europeans to take an active part in EU policymaking.
What is a threshold?
To be successful, not only does an ECI need 1 million validated signatures, but it also needs to surpass a certain threshold of signatures in at least seven EU countries. However, even if all thresholds are reached, the collected number of signatures will be below one million. Hence, thresholds can be seen as milestones along the way to collecting even more signatures to reach one million.
Timeline of the activities & achievements
Earlier closure of the ECI Fur Free Europe – thanks to 1,701,892 signatures
Before its official deadline the ECI closes on the 1st of March thanks to a record number of signatures collected. In less than ten months, 1,701,892 citizens signed to end this cruel practice, sending a strong message to the European Commission.The next phase of the ECI process is the validation of the signatures by Member States which will take up to 3 months.
1.5 million signatures
In February, more than 1,500,000 people have signed the ECI. The necessary mark of 1,000,000 signatures for the ECI to be successful becomes more and more likely.
More national thresholds reached
A total of 15 member states of the EU have now passed their national threshold. This is another indicator for a successful ECI, as a minimum of 7 EU member countries have to reach their national threshold.
Important milestone reached
After less than 7 months, one million people have signed the ECI showing the European Commission how important it is to ban fur farming and fur sales in Europe! But it is too early to celebrate. Until the end of the collection period, in May 2023, we need to collect at least 1.4 million signatures to ensure a sufficient number of validated signatures.
Action in Germany
On 3rd December, FOUR PAWS together with partner organisations and supporters set an important sign in Germany and carried our voices for the animals on the streets of Berlin!
Friday, the 25th November was FurFreeFriday and it was all about the #FurFreeEurope ECI. There were street actions in Bulgaria, Germany and in Austria. In Austria, the responsible minster was present and signed the petition for an EU wide fur ban. Next to that, we had great support from influencers and MEPs who promoted the ECI on their channels. And last but not least, some fashion companies supported us on that special day.
The support continues
Within a few weeks, the number of signatures has reached to over 600,000 and more and more people join the Fur Free Movement.
Almost halfway there
On 18th November, the birthday of Heli Dungler, the late founder of FOUR PAWS, we look back at exactly six months of fighting for a #FurFreeEurope and celebrate more than 500,000 signatures. We are already halfway to our signature goal of finally banning fur farms and the sales of farmed fur in the EU.We are grateful for all your support. The fight against fur has been linked to FOUR PAWS and has been a core element in all of what we do since the very beginning. Almost 35 years after Heli started, we are trying to ban fur farms for good.
Transfer of foxes and raccoon dogs to TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary
Until a few weeks ago, Emi, Asami, Skadi, Mala and Samara lived in tiny mesh cages. On a Polish fur farm, they, like millions of animals in the global fur industry, lead miserable lives, waiting to be killed. Thankfully, this fate could be prevented. After being medically cared for, the foxes and racoon dogs are now ready for a new home! At TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary they can spend the rest of their lives in a species-appropriate environment without worries.
A successful month
More and more people sign the ECI. In October, the ECI counts more than 400,000 signatures.
Germany, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Poland have managed to pass the threshold for the essential signatures.
Next to that, investigative footage from chinchilla fur farms in Romania highlights animal suffering and an Intergroup meeting at the EU parliament in Straßbourg on the welfare and conversation of animals took place.
Five months of ECI
Already more than 300,000 people have signed the ECI and Latvia announces the ban on fur farming to come into force in 2028.
#FurFreeEurope is getting bigger
Copenhagen Fashion Week banned fur farming in the beginning of the month. While there were no fur farms in the country, Malta has also banned fur farming. The government banned the practice to prevent fur farmers from abroad to open farms in Malta.
The response to the ECI is very positive. The Netherlands are the next country to pass the threshold of needed signatures.
Next big steps
Another country has received the required amount of signatures to pass the threshold – Lithuania.
In July, the ECI was signed by more than 200,000 people.
The signatures are coming in
By end of June, 150,000 people have signed the ECI and more countries in the EU have reached the threshold of necessary signatures. On 23rd June, Sweden offically passed it.
A first milestone
More than 100,000 people have already signed the ECI in the first month of the campaign.
The first month
Finland passes the threshold for required signatures for the European Citizen’s Initiative within a day!
In less than a week, Denmark marks the second European country who passes the threshold.
On 18th May, a signature collection with an offline event in Brussels and Amsterdam (joint action with other NGOs) was launched. More than 60,000 people signed the ECI in the first 24 hours to highlight that it's time to close fur farming for good!