BRUSSELS, Belgium―Today it was officially confirmed that 1,502,319 EU citizens have signed the Fur Free Europe European Citizens’ Initiative calling on the European Commission to ban fur farming and prohibit the placing of fur products on the European market. This marks the 10th successful European Citizens’ Initiative since the petition tool was launched, with seven of those 10 ECIs dedicated to animal issues. Fur Free Europe represents the most successful ECI for animal welfare, and the third most successful ECI overall. The ECI organisers will now meet with the European Commission and then attend a public hearing at the European Parliament, after which the European Commission must publicly respond to the initiative, before the end of the year.
The petition was launched in May 2022 with the backing of more than eighty animal protection organisations from across Europe, and closed on March 1st, more than two months earlier than its official deadline, thanks to a record number of unconfirmed signatures collected: 1,701,892 in less than ten months. The ECI also successfully reached the signatures threshold in twenty-one Member States, three times the minimum requirement of seven Member States.
“The overwhelming public support to this initiative has made one thing clear: fur must become a thing of the past. We are so proud to have achieved yet another step towards ending this cruel and unnecessary practice and now we call on the EC to use the new animal welfare legislation to make the wish of 1.5 million European citizens come true”, commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals, the organisers of Fur Free Europe.
“There could not be a clearer sign than this enormous petition that there is no place for the cruelty of fur farming in a progressive, ethical society,” said Dr. Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs at HSI/Europe. “The European Commission now has a duty to propose legislation to consign this outdated practise to history and make Europe fur-free. Such a move would strengthen Europe’s position as a leader in animal welfare and humane progress.”
On all fronts, the existence of fur farming holds no reasonable grounds. In fur farms animals such as minks, foxes and racoon dogs are kept in tiny cages, hindered from displaying natural behaviour and killed solely because of the value of their fur.
In addition, the farms pose a significant risk to animal and human health, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when outbreaks on mink fur farms caused variants to be transmitted from animals to humans. From an environmental perspective, the use of toxic chemicals in the production of fur also makes it a significantly polluting industry.
Media contact: Yavor Gechev, communications director for HSI/Europe: firstname.lastname@example.org ; +359889468098 ; +393515266629