2020 will be remembered by all as a difficult year and it is, to put it mildly. Mankind has faced considerable difficulties, particularly those caused by animal husbandry (COVID-19 pandemic, bird flu outbreaks on foie gras farms in France). Nevertheless, activists from around the world have made every effort to ban the fur business in their countries at the legislative level.
Activist of the Fur-free retail campaign from the NGO “Open Cages Ukraine” Vika Stepaniuk had prepared a selection of events that took place in 2020-2021 in the direction of combating fur. Let’s get acquainted with this list.
I would like to start with the excellent news we received from Poland. The Polish Senate approved a bill banning the cultivation of fur, as amended. Then the bill will be returned to the lower parliament (Sejm) for approval of amendments. Then it must be approved by the president.
This event is a significant step forward for a ban on raising animals for fur in Poland. The ban on this cruel business in Poland will be a very severe blow to the fur industry, as Poland is the third largest fur-producing country in the world.
The Open Cages NGO investigation was the impetus for the consideration and approval of the draft law on fur farms. The activist from Ukraine spent two months on the largest farm in Poland to show the whole truth of this production, which is hidden from society.
An outbreak of coronavirus on mink fur farms across Europe in November 2020 played a significant role in accelerating the introduction of bans on fur farming. The animals became infected from infected workers. Scientists feared that minks could be a reservoir for the COVID-19 virus and that the animals would transmit the virus to workers and those in turn to people outside the farms. In addition, there is a theory that the coronavirus transmitted from mink to humans is mutated and resistant to the vaccine, which will nullify all the work of the world’s medical laboratories. Millions of animals have been killed across Europe – 17 million in Denmark alone, which is one of the world’s largest mink fur producers.
Of course, this situation could not but affect the acceleration of the ban on fur farming. In November 2020, Hungary banned the breeding of many species of fur animals. At the time of the ban, no animals were bred for fur in Hungary. Still, such a ban would not allow fur farmers from other countries to move their business to Hungary, which cannot but please animal rights activists and those who are not indifferent.
The Netherlands, one of Europe’s largest fur producers, banned fur farming in late 2012; the country had to abandon fur production by 2024 completely. But due to an outbreak of coronavirus among minks, all fur farms where these animals were raised were closed by the end of 2020.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the last fur farm was closed in 2020 due to the economic downturn in the fur industry.
In September of the same year, France joined the list of countries where fur production is banned. The transitional period of abandonment of this branch of production will last five years. At present, there are only four such farms in France, and despite their small number, this is another victory of humanity over cruelty. In addition to France, the transition period is currently underway in Croatia (a 10-year period began in 2018), Norway (2018 to 2025), Belgium (2018 to 2023) and Los Angeles (2018 to 2021).
Animals can be relieved of suffering due to a short life in agony and a horrible death on a fur farm not only by directly banning the breeding of fur animals in the country. For example, in 2017, a law was passed in Germany according to which minks raised for fur can be kept only in accordance with strict standards (increased size of cages and additional pools for them). There were only 1-2 farms left in Germany at that time; without changes, they could continue to work until 2022, in the future – only in compliance with these necessary requirements. This made fur production unprofitable, which is why German mink farms closed in 2019. In a similar scenario, fur production stopped, for example, in Sweden and California.
In 2020, media reported about Ireland’s intention to abandon the cultivation of fur: the country is preparing legislation. Legislation banning fur farming is currently being considered in Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, and Ukraine.
2020 and fur: small victories in a big deal
In addition to the above, we received good news in fall 2020 from the Middle East, namely Israel. This country plans to ban the sale and purchase of fur. Of course, there will be exceptions for “research, education or training, as well as for religious purposes or traditions.” Under the latter category, most likely, meant purchasing fur products by members of the ultra-Orthodox part of the Israeli population: large fur hats – shtraimli, Hasidim wear on special occasions. Under the new rules, anyone planning to use fur in Israel (but only a representative of one of the above categories) must apply for a permit. Commenting on the statement, Israeli Environment Minister Gila Gamliel called the use of leather and fur in the fashion industry “immoral” and added: “The fur industry kills hundreds of millions of animals worldwide and is associated with unspeakable cruelty and suffering.”
Israel became the first country in the world to ban the trade in natural fur at the legislative level. Environment Minister Gila Gamliel announced this after the signing of the decree in June 2021.
The document will come into force in six months after the announcement – in December 2021.
“I have signed a ban on the fur trade in the fashion industry. The fur industry is killing hundreds of millions of animals worldwide and is associated with unspeakable cruelty and suffering. Together, we will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and animal-friendly!” Gamliel wrote on Twitter.
Do you agree that beauty does not need sacrifices? Let’s read the stories of fashion houses that refused to sell fur!