LONDON—French minister Barbara Pompili has announced the end of mink fur farming in France. The country’s last four remaining fur farms will have to close no later than 2025, although campaigners at Humane Society International predict that their closure may come sooner. The announcement comes a month after an undercover investigation by French animal campaigners, One Voice, revealed shocking evidence of animal suffering on mink fur farms. The announcement also included many other sweeping animal welfare reforms adopted by the French government, such as ending the use of wild animals in traveling circuses and keeping and breeding dolphins and killer whales in captivity in marine parks.
According to Fur Europe (in 2018), France produced 100,000 mink skins on five farms, but recent public pressure against cruel fur farming practices has been a major driving force behind the ban. Latest opinion polls show that 77% of French citizens favour a ban on raising and slaughtering animals for their fur. More than half a million people in France have signed the referendum for the animals, which includes a ban on fur farms.
Although the mink fur farm ban does not impact France’s Orylag rabbit fur industry, it is nonetheless a significant sign of progress towards ending the trade. Orylag fur comes from genetically manipulated rabbits who are bred in deprived, factory farm style caging.
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “We applaud the French government for taking a stand against the immense suffering endured by mink for fur fashion. The shocking scenes showing paralysed mink displaying signs of severe distress at France’s last remaining fur farms, were enough to make the world shudder. So it is commendable that Minister Pompili has listened to the public outcry that this kind of cruelty is unacceptable. This mink fur farm ban is a great first step for France, and with mink fur production at an all-time low in France we predict and hope that these farms may close sooner than the 2025 deadline.
In the meantime, we urge the French government to also end the equally inexcusable suffering of Orylag rabbits who are farmed for fur in terrible conditions, and we call on the UK government to advance a ban on fur sales as soon as is practicable after the EU transition. For as long as the UK remains open for business to sell fur from countries overseas such as France, we are complicit in this cruelty.”
Across Europe, 13 countries have banned fur farming, Britain being the first to do so in 2003. One Voice has been urging the Ministry of Ecology since 2017 to publish a decree to shut down all mink operation in France. In support of their campaign, HSI/UK and other members of the Fur Free Alliance—an international coalition of more than fifty animal protection organisations—wrote a letter to the French Embassy asking for a ban.
Muriel Arnal, CEO of One Voice, said: “Finally, France has a mink fur farming ban. But alas it will not take effect for a long time compared to the mink fur farm ban just announced in the Netherlands. We will keep on fighting to close down these four farms before the deadline set by the ministry of Ecology.”
- An estimated 60 million mink are farmed for their fur in 24 countries around the world, with the top three production countries China (20.6million mink), Denmark (17.6million mink) and Poland (5 million mink) in 2018.
- A 2020 YouGov opinion poll, commissioned by HSI/UK, reveals that 93% of the British population reject wearing real animal fur, and the majority (72%) support a ban on the sale of fur in the UK. The poll also demonstrates Brits’ scathing view of fur – the words that people most closely associate with a fashion brand selling fur are ‘unethical’, ‘outdated’, ‘cruel’ and ‘out of touch’.
- Across Europe, mink fur farms have been affected by outbreaks of COVID-19. In the Netherlands, 56 mink fur farms so far have been infected with the coronavirus, and outbreaks have also been documented on fur farms in Spain and Denmark, as well as in the United States.
- Fur farming has been banned across the UK since 2003, and has been prohibited and/or is in the process of being phased-out in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and most recently the government in Ireland has committed to ending fur farming.
- Bulgaria, Lithuania, Montenegro and Ukraine are also presently considering bans on fur farming and in Finland the majority party of the coalition government just announced its support for a ban on fur farms.
- In the United States, California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019 following similar bans in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood. In 2020, legislators in Hawaii and Rhode Island introduced fur sales ban proposals, as have cities in Minnesota and Massachusetts.
Media contact: Leozette Roode: firstname.lastname@example.org; +27 71 360 1104