Concerns about the creation of a reference centre for fur 

FOUR PAWS condemns the decision of the European Commission earlier this month to include animals farmed for their fur in the 2nd reference centre for small farmed animals


This new reference centre aims at providing technical support and assistance to the EU countries in carrying out official controls in the field of animal welfare, as well as disseminating good practices. In particular, reference centre provide scientific and technical expertise and develop methods to assess or improve animal welfare standards.

However, science has proven that fur farming is incompatible with animal welfare. Unlike the procedure used for establishing the first reference centre on pigs, this time the Commission decided to not consult Member States to adopt the second reference centre. 

“Integrating furred animals into an EU animal welfare reference center would be a fatal signal. This move would indirectly give new impetus to a cruel industry that is already banned in many countries. Why invest time, resources and European taxpayers' money to cultivate an industry that is explicitly rejected by the majority of EU citizens.” 

says Thomas Pietsch, FOUR PAWS wild animal expert

In addition, FOUR PAWS is particularly concerned that Aarhus University, which has been working closely with the fur industry in developing their certification scheme, is now part of the consortium created by the Commission to improve the enforcement of the EU legislation.

“We are shocked: we were told by Commissioner Andriukaitis’ collaborators that, concerning fur, the role of the reference centre will only be to collect information on the industry. The inclusion of one supporter of the fur industry’s programmes as part of the successful consortium suggests that Aarhus could play a bigger role. Moreover, the trick that the Commission used to establish this second reference centre is very concerning from a democratic point of view. Even the reason why fur farming has been included is also very obscure.” 

says Pierre Sultana, FOUR PAWS Director of the European Policy Office. 

Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and the United Kingdom have already banned the keeping of fur animals by law. The Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina are phasing out fur farming. Besides, Ireland and Bulgaria are also currently discussing legislation to prohibit fur farming.

No later than this week, the Slovakian Parliament voted in favour of banning fur production in the country. There are no interests and needs to implement a reference centre while many European countries have banned the keeping of fur farming and many others are following.

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. 

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