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.