Fur farming

Animals such as minks, foxes and chinchillas are routinely bred and raised on fur farms and killed after their first moulting.

The animals in fur farms are not domesticated. They are fearful of humans and are fundamentally unsuitable for farming.

In contrast to domestication, the emphasis on fur farms has been to select for traits associated with pelt colour and quality, body size and litter size, with little attention paid to behavioural traits.

Keeping wild predators in small cages results in numerous serious stress-related health problems, including infected wounds, missing limbs and cannibalism, as shown in footage taken by an employee at a Lithuanian fur farm. 

Scientific studies add further weight to the substantial body of evidence demonstrating that the needs of animals such as mink and foxes are not being met in current housing systems - and in fact cannot be met in any housing system.

mink in cage
red fox in nature

In the wild, a fox would have a territory of several square kilometres, in a cage it has only a few square centimetres. Keeping typically solitary animals such as mink in close proximity to one another can be distressing. To cope with these unnatural situations, animals are known to fight and self-harm. Such conditions do not allow the animals to perform natural behaviours, such as swimming or digging.

Finally, having endured tough conditions during their short life, animals are slaughtered in a variety of violent ways, such as asphyxia through gassing, or by electrocution.

This makes it difficult to evaluate the exact source of all animals and thus the impact of their removal from the wild. The lack of proper regulations on the keeping and trade of exotic pets in many Member States, coupled with insufficient knowledge of some private keepers, undermines the welfare of the animals and pose a threat to human and animal health and biodiversity.

85%

SWISS CITIZENS CONSIDER THAT KILLING ANIMALS FOR FUR PRODUCTS IS WRONG

11

MEMBER STATES HAVE TOTALLY OR PARTIALLY BANNED OR STRICTLY REGULATED FUR FARMING

82%

CZECH CITIZENS DON'T AGREE WITH KILLING ANIMALS FOR FUR

WHAT DOES THE PUBLIC THINK?

The breeding of animals for the purposes of fur production is opposed by many EU citizens, who believe that it is unacceptable, unnecessary and immoral to keep and kill animals for the production of a luxury product for which there are many warm and humane alternatives.

The publicʼs long-standing opposition to fur farming and the changed ethical perception of animals is reflected by the law in an increasing number of countries.

POLICY - CURRENT STATE OF PLAY

To date, 11 Member States have totally or partially banned or strictly regulated fur farming, sometimes with phasing-out periods.  The most recent countries to join the list were Ireland, which in 2019 announced plans to legislate for a ban and phasing out of existing fur farms, and Norway, which will phase out fur farming by 2025. In September 2020, France announced a ban on mink fur farming with a 5-year phase-out period.

It is important to note, nonetheless, that the sale of fur products continues in countries which have banned fur farms. For instance, the UK still allows the sale of fur, and there is no evidence to suggest that other European countries with fur farming bans are considering  outlawing its sale. Therefore, while the practice has been banned in certain places, the ability to purchase fur enables animal welfare violations elsewhere.