Raccoon dog in a cage at a fur farm

Record Breaking Numbers of EU Citizens Call on the European Commission to End Fur Farming

A FOUR PAWS statement


Vienna, 2 March 2023 – A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) which aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on keeping and killing of animals for the sole purpose of fur production, as well as placing farmed animal fur products on the EU market has now received 1.7m signatures from across 27 EU Member States. This is a record-breaking collection of signatures for any ECI over a ten-month period.

The ECI process is a democratic way for EU citizens to help shape the EU new laws and this would only be the seventh successful ECI to reach the one million signature requirement threshold which is required for a potential law change since the very first one was tabled back in 2012. As of last night, the Fur Free Europe ECI is now closed and over the next three-month period full verification of the signatures will take begin to take place.

Once the signatures have been validated, the European Commission has six months to formulate and deliver a response that will address citizens’ demands for a Fur Free Europe.

Tilly Metz MEP, President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, said, "I know that most citizens, if shown the reality of cruel animal farming practices such as fur farming, would want much more progressive EU animal welfare legislation than the one we have today. Through joint efforts and effective mobilisation, this ECI Fur Free has proven this, with an impressive number of signatures."

"Thirty-five years ago, FOUR PAWS was formed on the basis of banning fur farms in Austria and now the rest of Europe is catching up to the very cause we started upon. For FOUR PAWS this is a historic moment and a proud day for our organisation.

EU citizens have spoken loud and clear in record numbers, now it is for the European Commission to listen and set out a clear legislative proposal that will finally prohibit fur farming and the placement of fur products in the European market. The best opportunity is in the upcoming animal welfare legislative revisions that are currently being prepared in Brussels. The time has come to end this cruelty once and for all.”

Josef Pfabigan, CEO of global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS

Since the launch of the ECI in May 2022, FOUR PAWS has released several investigations in fur farms in Poland and Romania and has been campaigning alongside 80+ NGOs around Europe to inform citizens on the cruel reality of this outdated industry.


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.


Take a look at what has been accomplished

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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

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