Animal protection organisations welcome Member States’ call for an end of fur farming in the EU at the Agriculture and Fishery Council meeting


Animal protection organisations welcome Member States’ call for an end of fur farming in the EU at the Agriculture and Fishery Council meeting

28 June 2021
Press Release
Today, the Dutch and Austrian governments presented an information note on fur farming in the Council, which has already been supported by Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Slovakia. The initiative calls on the European Commission to take action to permanently end fur farming in the EU based on animal welfare, ethics as well as health risks for humans and animals.

Fur farming is a cruel practice and should no longer have a place in Europe. Animals farmed for fur spend short miserable lives in small battery cages. It is evident that animals are unsuited to caged confinement and intensive breeding practices, which do not meet their natural and social needs. 

Aside from the animal welfare issues associated with fur production, there are also considerable public health concerns. Since April 2020, over 400 fur farms across Europe have experienced outbreaks of COVID-19 in their mink herds. Only days ago, the SARS-CoV-2 was detected in mink on four more fur farms in Spain and two more in Poland. Despite enhanced biosecurity measures, the virus has shown to rapidly spread between mink and was also transmitted from humans to mink and mink to humans

This creates the perfect environment for mutations to occur and can decrease vaccine efficacy.

The signatories of the information note “ask the European Commission to investigate the options for the permanent prohibition of fur farming in the EU and to present a legislative proposal to achieve this goal”. 

Bravo to the Dutch and Austrian governments for this paper. Whilst several Member States have already banned fur farming, that it still continues in the EU at all is a moral outrage. Now that Member States have added their voice calling for its abolition, the Commission must act. The promise of new animal welfare laws at EU level offers us the perfect opportunity, and we trust that the Commission will seize this chance to end fur farming once and for all.

Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals. 

“We applaud the initiative of the Austrian and Dutch governments and the support of ten more Member States”, says Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS. “An overwhelming majority of European citizens is in favour of a ban on fur farming and we urge the Commission to listen to it!”

Dr Joanna Swabe, Senior Director of Public Affairs at Humane Society International/Europe explains: “The species bred on fur farms are wholly unsuited to being intensively kept in caged confinement. This practice is inherently inhumane. We cannot meaningfully improve the welfare of animals on fur farms. Indeed, any attempt to introduce welfare standards would bring little improvement to their lives and would be tantamount to legitimising a cruel and outdated practice, which should be relegated to history. The only way forward is for Member States to ensure a permanent end to fur farming in Europe.”

“The existing industry welfare certification programme for fur farms is inadequate and does not solve the inherent welfare concerns associated with keeping wild animals in tiny cages”, states Joh Vinding, Chairman of the Fur Free Alliance. “Certifications and labels are not the solution to the welfare problems in fur farming, which is why we support the call to end fur farming”.

Austria and the Netherlands are not alone in calling for an end of fur farming. EU citizens are also urging it not only to protect human health in the wake of COVID-19, but also to end animal suffering. Indeed, more than 500.000 people have already signed a petition calling for the end of the fur trade. Now their voices are mirrored in the Member States’ requests. 

Multiple EU Member States have already enforced national bans on fur production and numerous scientists have called for an end of mink farming for the sake of public health and safety. With this groundswell of support for an end to fur farming, it is now up to the European Commission to step up and develop a plan to assist Member States in phasing out all fur farming in Europe.


Scientific statement on public health risks from SARS-CoV-2 and the intensive rearing of mink 
Opinion poll full results
The Stop Deadly Fur petition 

Press contact
Agnese Marcon, Interim Communications Manager, Eurogroup for Animals
+32 (0) 456 078 038

Eurogroup for Animals represents 77 animal protection organisations in 27 EU Member States, Switzerland, Serbia, Norway, Australia and the USA. Since its inception in 1980, the organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup for Animals reflects public opinion through its membership organisations’ affiliations across the Union, and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal welfare.

The Fur Free Alliance exists to end the exploitation and killing of animals for fur. The Alliance is an international coalition that consists of more than 55 animal protection organisations, based in more than 35 countries around the world, working collaboratively to bring about the end of fur farming and fur trapping, using wholly peaceful means.

Humane Society International/Europe is a leading force for animal protection in the European Union, with active campaigns to protect wildlife and end trophy hunting, reduce and replace animal use in scientific research and product testing, and reduce the number of animals suffering for food, skins and fur.

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, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.