Helsinki/Vienna, 11 September 2023 – A Finnish citizens' initiative which calls for a ban on fur farming has received the required 50,000 signatures meaning it must now be debated by the Finnish Parliament. The proposal hit the target needed on the same day it was launched, it is now near 100,000.
The petition aims are that the government phase out “the practice of fur farming within a reasonable transitional period, and in a way that is fair to farmers and workers within the sector. This would include support packages for farmers who close their farms.”
FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, has called this the “clearest signal that fur farming has no place in Finnish society or its economy.”
“As we have seen across Europe in the past few years the public are saying no to fur farms. They hold no place in the 21st century. The question is now, is Parliament catching up with the public.”
Annabella McIntosh, FOUR PAWS´ Wild Animal Campaigner
Only last month Finnish authorities stated that they will have to cull 120,000 animals due to the ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu on 25 farms across the country.
Recent Scientific studies have shown that fur farming poses high risks for future viral pandemics, which strongly urge governments to also consider the mounting evidence suggesting that “fur farming, particularly mink, be eliminated in the interest of pandemic preparedness.”
In June of this year the final count of validated signatures for the Fur Free Europe 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, was confirmed at an impressive 1,502,319 signatures submitted to the European Commission.
McIntosh added, “Public health and animal wellbeing are inextricably interlinked. This has never been highlighted more so than COVID-19 and now the bird flu outbreak across Finland which has cost hundreds of thousands of animals fatalities, all of which were avoidable with a ban. An EU wide ban must be implemented on fur farming. We cannot compromise the wellbeing of animals for the sake of a fashion accessory.”
Social Democratic Party MP Piritta Rantanen, said, "My thinking in the past has been that market forces would ultimately win out, that the use of fur would gradually come to an end over time. Now my thinking has changed, with all the news about the spread of bird flu and the links with fur farming. It's scary.”
Mink farming poses risks for future viral pandemics, Thomas P. Peacock and Wendy S. Barclay: https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2303408120
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.
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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