Brussels, 26th June – During today’s AGRIFISH Council meeting, 18 Member States, led by AT, DE and NL, have voiced their support for implementing an EU-wide outright ban on fur farming and sales.
The tabled paper was also signed by the Belgian, Czech, Estonian, Lithuanian, Luxembourg and Slovak delegations. While Italy and Portugal have not voiced their position on the paper, they already have existing bans on fur farming or simply do not produce fur and therefore could make a qualified majority if a ban was to be voted.
The 18 countries highlighted the 1.5m signatures for Fur Free Europe European Citizens´Intiative (ECI) amongst the key evidence as why to ban the cruel and outdated trade.
FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, have called this an “important statement of intent” in what will be a significant year for animal welfare legislation in the EU, as the European Commission brings forth new proposals by the end of the year to overhaul the current set of laws and align them “with the latest scientific evidence.”
In a paper, the Austrian, Dutch and German delegations asked the European Commission to include provisions to ban fur farming and breeding in the EU into its upcoming animal welfare legislative proposals and call on the Commission to introduce a ban on the sale and marketing of fur in the Single Market.
The paper also highlighted the growing public concern about the animal welfare and public health risks brought by fur farming, especially post COVID-19, where mink farms were breeding grounds for the disease to spread.
19 Member States have already totally or partially banned or strictly regulated fur farming, sometimes with phasing-out periods. However, the lack of harmonisation in the EU undermines those very measures: fur farming can be “outsourced” with farms moving to other Member States, as a result, distorting the internal market. Moreover, it’s important not only to ban fur farming but the placement of farmed fur products on the European market, in order to ensure that fur produced under similarly cruel conditions in third countries is not sold within the EU.
Significantly, the paper comes less than two weeks after the ‘Fur Free Europe’ European Citizen’s Initiative surpassed the one million validated signatures required for a potential law change. It marked the 10th successful ECI since the tool was launched in 2012. Seven out of ten successful ECIs have been dedicated to animal issues and Fur Free Europe represents the most successful ECI for animal welfare, while being the third most successful overall.
While last year a report published by The European Commission showed that 92% of the nearly 60,000 public respondents wanted stronger legislation on animal welfare.
Joe Moran, Director of European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS, said, “The next six months to a year will be the most important for the direction of animal welfare legislation within the EU for the past twenty years. An EU-wide ban on fur farming must be at the forefront of the new legislative proposals on animal welfare, alongside a ban on placing farmed fur products on the European market.
“It is clear that the tide of public opinion turned against fur farming long ago and the ECI has only amplified this general will. EU citizens have made this one of the most successful participatory democratic exercises ever within the apparatus of the EU framework.
“The citizens have spoken. Vox populi, vox dei. They cannot be ignored.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Paper in full: pdf (europa.eu)
The Council of the EU is one of the two co-legislatures at EU level (along with the European Parliament) and is made up of EU government ministers who meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws Ministers meet in different configurations based on the policy areas under discussion.
When the Council of the European Union votes on a proposal by the Commission or the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the proposal is adopted if a qualified majority is reached. A qualified majority is reached if two conditions are simultaneously met: 55% of member states vote in favour - in practice this means 15 out of 27 the proposal is supported by Member States representing at least 65% of the total EU population
Animal welfare – revision of EU legislation: Fur Free Europe was launched in May 2022 and received the support of more than eighty organisations from all around Europe. It closed on March 1st, 10 weeks earlier than its official deadline, thanks to a record number of signatures collected: 1,701,892 in less than ten months. The ECI also successfully reached the signatures threshold in eighteen Member States, nearly three times the minimum requirement of seven Member States.
The ECI Fur Free Europe was officially registered by the European Commission on 16/03/2022 and ran from 18/05/2022 until 01/03/2023. The ECI was submitted by a group of citizens from 7 EU Member States. It aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on the keeping and killing of animals for the sole or main purpose of fur production, as well as placing farmed animal fur, and products containing such fur, on the European market.
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. www.four-paws.org