Cage enrichment on fur farms is not a viable option


Cage enrichment on fur farms is not a viable option

5 September 2023
A new scientific briefing paper confirms that attempts to introduce cage enrichment or alternative housing systems as a means of improving welfare on fur farms are doomed to fail, and only a ban is a viable option to ensure the welfare of mink, foxes and raccoon dogs.
The report, which provides an overview of the current standards of housing of animals farmed for fur also examines the scientific evidence on the possibility of meeting the welfare needs of these species, either through enrichment/enlargement of cage systems or development of alternative housing systems.

Cage enrichment on fur farms: Inadequate and unworkable

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It concludes that scientific evidence and experience in various EU countries clearly shows that “enrichment/enlargement of cage systems is not able to address the major welfare issues for mink, foxes and raccoon dogs farmed for fur and there are insurmountable obstacles to the development of more extensive alternative systems.” This makes it impossible for the needs of mink, foxes and raccoon dogs to be met by the fur industry. A ban is the only viable solution to the serious welfare problems of animals farmed for fur.

By the end of 2023, the European Commission is set to publish a proposal for a revised animal welfare legislation. A leak of the draft Impact Assessment report on the revision of animal welfare legislation suggested ‘improved’ animal welfare requirements as an option for fur farmed animals, ‘while ensuring that it remains economically viable to farm fur animals under those conditions’. However, the evidence once again shows that this is not a viable solution.

1.5 million signatures have been submitted to the Commission calling for a Fur Free Europe, and a majority of Member States called on the EC to introduce a ban on fur farming. 

This report sends a stark message to European decision makers that a move towards legislating for cage enrichment on fur farms would be doomed to fail. Any such plans must be immediately discarded. There are inherent welfare failures with fur farming that cannot be resolved by tinkering around with cage standards.  The science is clear and is summarised in this new briefing paper. If the European Commission is serious about improving animal welfare in the EU, then a full ban on fur farming is a necessity.
Mark Glover, Campaigns Director, Respect for Animals
The science is clear - only a total ban on fur farms will truly protect animal welfare. Member states and EU Citizens have made their voice heard, the ball remains in the European Commission's court, to end this cruel practice once and for all.
Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals