Vienna, 25 November 2022 – New research compiled by global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, highlight a decade of significant decline in import figures of articles of apparel, clothing accessories and other articles of fur skin to the EU.
The United Nations Comtrade statistics show that between 2011 and 2021, the value of imports fell from around 318.8 million euros to 107.8 million euros. The production of fur in the EU has also decreased sharply from 38 million animal skins in 2018 to around eleven million in 2021.
25th November marks ‘Fur Free Friday’ worldwide, the animal welfare organisation will mobilise for an EU-wide ban of fur farming in several Member States, including Austria, Germany, and Bulgaria, with multiple creative street actions and online activities.
"The latest figures show a decade of decline and are damning for the fur industry. The public are saying no to this cruel trade and politicians should follow suit. Only last month recently Latvia became the 16th EU Member State to end fur farming. The EU should recognise the trend and legislate for a full and EU wide ban on fur production.”
Thomas Pietsch, FOUR PAWS´ Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles
This years “Fur Free Friday” co-insides with a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) that is calling on the Commission to introduce an EU-wide ban on keeping and killing animals for the purpose of fur production. Only this month the ECI hit 600,000 individual signatures, which is 60% of the target.
National thresholds have been reached in EU major fur production countries Finland, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, relevant production countries Sweden and Bulgaria as well as in Germany, France, Netherlands, Latvia and Slovakia. Belgium, Greece and Austria are expected to follow soon.
Besides the animal welfare aspect, fur production poses an incalculable health risk to humans. The COVID-19 pandemic is a cautionary example, as millions of mink have been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus on over 400 farms worldwide. To avert health risks for humans, over 20 million farmed mink were culled in the EU last year, primarily in Denmark and the Netherlands
Pietsch finished by saying, "The end is nigh for fur farms. This barbaric and outdated trade has no place in our society or modern economy. There are now no arguments for it, the European Commission must finally act.”
The European Citizens' Initiative ‘Fur Free Europe’
An alliance of animal welfare organisations, including FOUR PAWS, which has been campaigning for an end to fur production and fur sales in Europe for almost 35 years, has launched the ‘Fur Free Europe’ ECI. The petition will run until May 2023 and is now supported by more than 80 European groups. 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.
For the ECI to be successful, one million signatures of EU citizens are required, which must be collected from at least seven countries. The European Commission must then respond with an official reply, and the proposal will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council. If it is adopted, it becomes law. So far, 15 of the 27 Member States have banned fur farming completely, some with transition periods, or regulated it so strictly that fur farming is no longer economically viable. Currently, the ECI already has over 600,000 signatures, shortly after its halfway point on 18 November.
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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