Brussels/Vienna, 20 July 2023 – The European Commission welcomed the Fur Free Europe – European Citizens Initiative (ECI) group to the Berlaymont today, who presented their opening demands around the ban of fur farms.
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, who hosted the talks.
The ECI´s aim is to achieve an EU-wide ban on keeping and killing of animals for the sole purpose of fur production and the placement of farmed animal fur on the EU market. Currently, 19 Member States have already totally or partially banned fur farming on grounds of animal welfare and public health.
In June of this year the ECI officially surpassed the one million validated signatures that are required for a potential law change.
It marked the 10th successful ECI since the tool was launched in 2012. Seven out of ten successful ECIs have been dedicated to animal issues and Fur Free Europe represents the most successful ECI for animal welfare, while being the third most successful overall.
Only last month, we saw the call to ban fur farms by a majority of Member States during the last session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) and has been publicly supported by a number of members of the European Parliament.
By the end of 2023, the European Commission will publish a proposal aimed at improving the EU’s animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence. The organisers reiterated once more that while it’s possible to improve welfare standards for domesticated animals, science has clearly shown that this is not possible for wild animals on fur farms. Consequently, a ban on fur farming should be included in the proposal.
“It was a privilege to attend on behalf of so many people who have endorsed this campaign and made today possible. It is now time for the European Commission to include an EU-wide end of fur farming in the legislative proposal on animal welfare expected end of 2023."
Thomas Pietsch, FOUR PAWS Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles
“The overwhelming majority of the public now believe this should be legislated for. The ECI successfully reached the signatures threshold in eighteen Member States, nearly three times the minimum requirement.
“As well as the support of the public it gardened voices leading global voices of economy, NGOs, and scientists stating that fur farms do not belong in a modern fashion industry and modern society.”
After the autumn hearing at the European Parliament, the European Commission must provide a formal reply to the ECI by mid-December.
The ECI Fur Free Europe was officially registered by the European Commission on 16/03/2022 and ran from 18/05/2022 until 01/03/2023. The ECI was submitted by a group of citizens from 7 EU Member States. It aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on the keeping and killing of animals for the sole or main purpose of fur production, as well as placing farmed animal fur, and products containing such fur, on the EU market.
The European Union is one of the main regions for fur production globally. Every year millions of animals (mainly mink, foxes and raccoon dogs) are legally confined in small wire mesh cages and killed to produce unnecessary, easily replaceable fur articles. The mission is to end this cruel practice by introducing an EU-wide prohibition of fur farming.
In addition, fur farms pose significant risk for the spread of zoonotic diseases, putting both humans and animals at risk, a fact which became widely evident during recent Covid-19 outbreaks. Banning the placement of farmed fur products on the EU market will ensure that fur produced under similarly cruel conditions in third countries is not allowed to be sold within the EU.
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org