EFSA stakeholder meeting on fur farming: first step towards ban?
EFSA hosted the first stakeholder meeting to evaluate the current practices on fur farms, after it was asked by the European Commission (EC) to put forward a scientific opinion in reply to the Fur Free Europe European Citizens Initiative (ECI), in which 1.5 million citizens asked for a ban on fur farms and placement of fur products in Europe.
In its official reply to the ECI in December, the EC mentioned a possible prohibition of fur farming and placement of farmed fur products on the European market, following EFSA’s opinion, which is to be put forward by March 2025. The technical meeting involved participation of representatives of animal protection NGOs, academics and the fur industry.
Scientists representing the fur industry openly admitted that the ‘Welfur’ certification system has evident shortcomings and questioned the fact that it has failed to identify inadequate conditions on fur farms in Europe.
While the EC asked EFSA to “assess whether these welfare consequences can be prevented or substantially mitigated under current farming conditions”, animal protection NGOs stressed, once again, that EFSA’s opinion should start from the animals’ specific needs, as opposed to the infrastructure of the system, as scientific studies have consistently concluded that no level of cage enrichment can maintain animal welfare.
It is difficult to assess positive welfare in a system which removes the agency of animals to act on their natural behavioural urges, such as foraging, seeking shelter or other natural motivations.
If we genuinely intend to discuss animal welfare, the species-specific needs of animals should be the only starting point to determine if and how we should continue keeping and killing sentient beings for commercial purposes.Nicholas Clark, Wildlife Programme Leader, Eurogroup for Animals
There are inherent problems in fur farming that simply cannot be resolved. The fur industry’s so called ‘certification schemes’ mislead consumers, and are designed to reward the status quo. There are no changes that can be made - the welfare of wild animals on fur farms is severely compromised across all five domains, resulting in a life not worth living.Mark Glover, Director, Respect for Animals
Around 7.7 million animals are currently kept and killed for fur production in the European Union. 20 Member States have already totally or partially banned fur farming, or implemented stricter measures on grounds of animal welfare, environment and public health.
While the fur industry has made an open invite to the European Commission to visit fur farms, Eurogroup for Animals stresses that any visits must be unannounced and randomly selected.