Raccoon dog in a cage at a fur farm

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 It is an outdated industry for the production of unnecessary, easily replaceable fashion items with dramatic impacts on animal welfare, humans and the environment.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

Fox Tomek at TIERART

Foxes Ronja and Tomek move to TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary 

Like millions of furbearing animals, Ronja and Tomek grew up in tiny wire mesh cages and were probably to be killed this winter. Their fate changed when animal welfare activists rescued them from their cages on Polish fur farms. After Ronja and Tomek received medical care in a transitional facility, TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary in Germany agreed to provide them with a species-appropriate and permanent home. There, they’ll soon move into a 350sqm natural enclosure – specially designed so they can dig, climb, hide, play and have access to a water stream. We’re incredibly grateful for being able to give these two foxes a new home! 


Joint submission to the Call for Evidence by The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

As member of the Fur Free Alliance and Eurogroup for Animals, FOUR PAWS contributed to a joint submission to the Call for Evidence by The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the welfare of farmed minkfoxesraccoon dogs and chinchilla. 


Formal step to complete the ECI process

While the European Commission had already communicated their response to the #FurFreeEurope ECI in December 2023, an in-person meeting with the ECI organisers is a formal step to complete an ECI process. This in-person meeting was attended by EU Commissioner Kyriakides and members of the #FurFreeEurope organising team. 


European Commission gives formal response to #FurFreeEurope 

In early December the Commission responded to the ECI with giving a mandate to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide scientific advice on banning fur farms and placing farmed fur products in the EU. They will provide advice by March 2025, which gives the Commission until March 2026 to state if it considers it appropriate to propose a ban, after a transition period.


#FurFreeEurope ads

The coalition of Eurogroup for Animals and Fur Free Aliance created and commissioned two #FurFreeEurope ads calling President of the European Commission von der Leyen and EU Commissioner Kyriakides “to do the right thing and ban the production and trade of farmed fur. The ads were published in Politico, a political newspaper. 


Clear calls in the European Parliament for a Fur Free Europe

On October the 12th the Europeans Citizens Initiative (ECI) call for a Fur Free Europe was presented at the European Parliament. Animal welfare groups, scientists and former fur industry representatives reiterated the need for the EU to ban fur production and sales. The majority of MEPs signaled their support for the proposal and one week after at the Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg 23 MEPs stressed that the EU Commission cannot ignore the democratic call of the citizens and the cruelty of fur farms, the risks to public health and the serious consequences that fur farming has on biodiversity.


Lithuania banned fur farming

It is the 16th EU country that ended fur farming. Around 40 mink farms and 30 chinchilla fur farms, must close by 2027.


European Commission welcomed Fur Free Europe (ECI) group for talks in Brussels

FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, along with other key ECI members, were received by Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety as well as Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, to present their opening demands around the ban of fur farms and the placement of farmed animal fur on the EU market. With this meeting, the European Commission begins their decision on whether to implement these demands or not.


EU Member States Call for a Fur Free Europe

The European Union agricultural ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday (26th of June) showed a clear majority of support to have an EU wide ban on fur farming. Led by Austria, Germany and the Netherlands the support was in favor 18 to 4, with 3 abstentions.The supportive countries highlighted the 1.5m signatures for Fur Free Europe European Citizens´ Initiative (ECI) amongst the key evidence as why to ban the cruel and outdated trade. Read our press release here!

Over 1.5 million validated signatures for a #FurFreeEurope

Big Milestone reached

#FurFreeEurope has officially surpassed the one million validated signatures that are requirement for a potential law change. After all EU member states finished validating ECI signaturesthe European Commission confirmed #FurFreeEurope as successful with 1,502,319 validated signatures.


Open letter: scientists call for a #FurFreeEurope 

24 scientists call on the European Commission to end fur farming through legislation as wild animals cannot be kept in cages. 


Open letter: fashion brands support #FurFreeEurope

European based fashion brands jointly call on the Commission to support the ECI Fur Free Europe and introduce a ban on fur farming and the import of farmed fur products. Read the letter here.

New scientific report on fur farming

On the 28th of March, a new report was published that confirms that the farming of mink, foxes, raccoon dogs for their fur should be prohibited in the EU since it’s impossible for their welfare and biological needs to be met. Read the full report here. 

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

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.

Social Media visual about reaching one million signatures

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.

#FurFreeEurope action in Berlin

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!

Fur ECI action in Vienna


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.

Raccoon dogs in a cage at a fur farm

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.

Rescued raccoon dog at TIERART

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.

Raccoon dogs in a cage at a fur farm

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.

Raccoon dog in a cage at a fur farm

#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.

Mink in a cage at a fur farm

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. 


The beginning

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! 

Share now!