ECFAR calls on Romania to ban fur farming

The European Campaign for Animal Rights (ECFAR) today called on Romania to act to ban fur farming within its borders. ECFAR is increasingly concerned that Romania is seen as an easy destination by companies facing fur-farming bans in their own countries.

Speaking in Brussels today, ECFAR director Jennifer Hamerman said: "While we are all so pleased that the hard-fought battle to ban fur farming in the Netherlands is finally won and fur farming will be banned there, sadly this just means that the torture gets transferred to other countries.

"There are 153 fur farms in Romania and we note that these include farms run by Dutch companies avoiding the ban in their own country.  Perhaps newer countries to the EU feel they need to accept such practices, but it is difficult to comprehend why Romania -- with its highly educated workforce, great capacity for high tech innovation, natural resources and advantageous geographical location -- wants to suffer s a reputation as a destination for a practice rejected as cruel by Croatia, the UK and Austria."

ECFAR believes the farming of mink, wild and solitary by nature, in small and dirty cages where they pace and self-harm is cruel.  The killing methods of gassing to death in boxes or anal electrocution are also completely unacceptable. 

Ms Hamerman added: "Fur farming is an industry that inflicts extreme cruelty, both in the way it forces animals to live and the methods used to kill.  There are countless natural and synthetic alternatives for the clothing industry to use.  We have no need or excuse for this industry. Let Romania take a stand in banning fur farms."

The EU should close the 7200 fur farms that degrade animal rights and European values

Don't miss this article from EU Today

It is time for us to end fur farming in Europe, writes Jennifer Hamerman of the European Campaign for Animal Rights.

There are 7200 fur farms in Europe and the EU accounts for 66 percent of global mink production and 70 percent of fox production. Animals on fur farms live in cramped and dirty wire cages. They are killed using the cheapest and most cruel methods, including suffocation, electrocution, gas, and poison. This practice is inhumane and has no place anywhere. Let us end it in our own backyard and send a signal to the rest of the world that fur farming is cruel.

Mink are wild and solitary by nature. They are not herd animals like many other farm animals. Mink and fox are territorial and, in the wild, go to great lengths to defend their territories. As acknowledged by the European Commission’s own report, these animals are unsuited to intensive farming and confinement. When these essentially wild animals are kept in small, wire cages on fur farms, they have been found to exhibit behaviours such as pacing along the cage wall, repetitive circling or nodding of the head and self-mutilation.

Mink on fur farms are usually gassed to death after being placed one after the other in killing boxes. Another method used is anal electrocution which requires considerable restraint, and use of electrodes inserted into orifices. If cardiac arrest is caused without first inducing unconsciousness, there is potential for the animal to experience extreme pain and distress. It is clear that both life and death on fur farms equal misery for the animals.

We can take heart from the fact that several EU Member States have recognised the inherent cruelty of raising and killing wild animals in this way. Austria, the United Kingdom and Croatia passed legislation to prohibit the breeding of animals for fur production. The Netherlands has also embarked on a process to phase-out mink farms by 2024.

However, this leaves many countries across the European Union where the practice of fur farming is still legal. This means that companies facing a ban in one country can simply move their production to another EU country that does not yet have a ban. This has been seen most recently with companies from the Netherlands moving farms to countries such as Romania. It seems sad that some newer EU members feel the need to permit such inhumane practices on their territory. In the case of Romania it is difficult to understand why a country with such a highly trained workforce, abundant natural resources, advantageous geographical location and a great capacity for high tech innovation needs to allow fur farming, a practice rejected as cruel in Croatia, the UK and Austria.

This is an industry that inflicts extreme cruelty, both in the way it forces animals to live and the methods used to kill. There are countless natural and synthetic alternatives for the clothing industry to use. We have no need or excuse for this industry. Europe faces so many competing challenges at the moment but we would argue that how we treat animals is central to our worth and values as a society. Let us bring an end to unnecessary cruelty and act to ban fur farming across Europe.

Taking inspiration from the UK’s achievement in banning fur farms

Occasionally, the struggle to protect animal rights, and particularly a campaign to end fur farming, can seem long and difficult.  Those who promote the fur trade are well funded.  For some, fur is, unbelievably, seen as a symbol of fashion and luxury, rather than cruelty and suffering. Here at the European Campaign for Animal Rights, we take great inspiration from the fact that several European countries have already implemented a ban on fur farms.  Their success shows that bans can be achieved and we should strive to outlaw fur farming across Europe and beyond.

One particular source of inspiration is the UK.  In November 2000, the Fur Prohibition Bill was passed in the UK.  This victory followed a 15-year campaign by animal Rights activists, including Mark Glover of Respect for Animals.  Speaking at the time, Mr Glover said: "It has recognised what we have thought for the last 15 years - that fur factory farming is cruel and unnecessary. To keep animals in such conditions in the name of fashion is totally unacceptable in a civilised society."

Many MPs rallied to the cause, including Andrew Bowden MP who said: “Even if their cages were enlarged a hundred times they would still fail to satisfy the basic needs of these inquisitive carnivores lacking, as they would, all the complex factors of their true, natural world. And why are these creatures so confined? For human vanity and profit. The time is long overdue for these deplorable places to be banned, and I, as a Member of Parliament, would be proud if this Parliament took a firm moral stand on this issue.”

Before the ban took effect, there were 11 fur farms spread around the UK. Those farms produced up to 100,000 mink skins per year, an appalling indication of how many mink suffer in just a few farms. There was of course great opposition to a UK ban, with the British Fur Trade Association campaigning against a ban.

Here we are 15 years later with 7200 fur farms across Europe.  We know the mink is a solitary and wild animal who is especially unsuited to life in captivity.  We know conditions in fur farm cages are cramped.  We know killing methods such as electrocution and gassing are cruel. And yet still this industry goes on across Europe.  We should take inspiration from success in Austria, the UK and Croatia and finally see an end to this unjustifiably cruel industry.

Our reaction to fur farmers exhibit in the European Parliament, Brussels

On a recent trip to the European Parliament in Brussels, we saw a stand in the lobby of the parliament promoting the fur trade.  The stand was being run by Welfur, run by the European Fur Breeders Association.  Our first reaction was to notice how well-funded the Welfur campaign must be to have rented that particular space and have such glossy leaflets.  In order to try and show their product as glamorous, they also had racks of fur coats in the parliament lobby.

But instead of feeling despair that this campaign is clearly so well-funded and can afford to bring its campaign physically into Parliament, we realised how ineffective their messages actually are. There was an attempt to show that they are self-regulating and meeting certain standards of care for the mink and other animals they farm.  A close examination of their materials shows that the 7200 fur farms they promote really have no place in Europe or indeed anywhere else in the world.  Even their own photographs of animals in cages do nothing to put an ethical person’s mind at ease.  The juxtaposition of their pamphlets about their farms alongside the racks of fur coats actually worked against their claims.

There is no getting away from it.  Fur farming is cruel.  Animals live in filthy and cramped cages on farms and they die by cheap and inhumane methods such as electrocution and gassing.  Fur farm life is especially cruel for an animal as essentially wild as a mink – a carnivore who likes a solitary life and is driven to great stress by life on a factory farm. We do not need this cruel industry.  There are so many natural and synthetic alternatives to fur.  There is no need for this cruelty to take place in the name of warmth or fashion.

The United Kingdom banned fur farming.  So did Austria and Croatia.  Let’s see the end of fur farms across Europe.  Sign our petition today.




European Campaign for Animal Rights Calls for EU-Wide Fur Farm Ban

BRUSSELS, September 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

The European Campaign for Animal Rights today launched a campaign to ban fur farming across Europe. The campaign is particularly concerned about the plight of mink being farmed in the European Union.

Speaking today in Paris, campaign director Jennifer Hamerman called on MEPs to take action to outlaw fur farming in Europe, stating: "The practice of fur farming is cruel. Mink are essentially wild animals. They have not been selectively bred for any other characteristic than their fur. Mink are by nature unsuited to life in captivity, especially in the dirty and cramped cages used on fur farms. The European Commission's own Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW) supports this view in its 2001 report, "The Welfare of Animals Kept for Fur Production""."

The European Campaign for Animal Rights urges MEPs to take into account the barbaric killing methods used on fur farms, where the cheapest methods available are used, including gas or electrocution.

The Campaign welcomes the fact that a small number of enlightened EU Member States, including the UK, have taken the initiative to ban fur farming in their own territories through national legislation.  However this simply creates at the situation whereby fur farms faced with an individual country ban, move their production to another EU country.  A recent example of this concerns a company from the Netherlands which set up a fur farm in Sercaia village in Romania when the Netherlands began to implement a national ban.  The European Campaign for Animal Rights believes that the only solution is harmonisation of European legislation and an EU-wide ban to end this cruel practice.

Ms Hamerman added: "With so many natural and synthetic alternatives available, there is simply no justification for farming mink.  The way we treat animals is a mark of our values and standards as a society.  The EU has a duty to lead the way and ban this cruelty to animals across Europe."

Those wishing to support the Campaign should visit http://europeananimalrights.org/

We also ask supporters to sign our petition: https://www.change.org/p/janusz-wojciechowski-european-campaign-for-animal-rights-end-mink-fur-farming-in-europe?recruiter=384765948&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

Contact: Jennifer Hamerman, European Campaign for Animal Rights, Email: jhamerman@europeananimalrights.org

 

SOURCE European Campaign for Animal Rights