EU animal groups and MEPs gather at European Parliament to expose fur farm suffering and call for an EU-wide fur farming ban

Humane Society International / Europe

Thomas Szacka-Marier for HSI

BRUSSELS―With just a week to go before the European Commission is due to deliver its formal response to the European Citizens’ Initiative petition for an EU-wide fur farming ban, animal protection organizations, members of the Fur Free Alliance and MEPs gathered opposite the European Parliament to highlight the suffering of animals exploited for fur fashion.  More than 1.5 million EU citizens signed the ECI petition for a Fur Free Europe which could end the suffering of 10 million foxes, raccoon dogs, mink and chinchilla on EU fur farms each year.

Campaigners from Humane Society International/Europe, Oikeutta eläimille and Otwarte Klatki, Gaia and Tu Abrigo Su Vida wore body screens broadcasting footage recently obtained from undercover investigations on fur farms in six Member States, namely Finland, Poland, Denmark, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania. The disturbing footage exposes the harsh realities of intensively confining wild species on fur factory farms, and shows mink and foxes in small, wire cages, enduring horrifying injuries, maggot infested wounds and painful infections.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, said: “This new footage showing mink, foxes and raccoon dogs suffering from the most horrific injuries and displaying stereotypical behaviours, confirms just how poor animal welfare standards are on Europe’s remaining fur farms. Despite fur industry claims of improved welfare on fur farms, the truth is there is precious little evidence that anything has really changed since the fur farm investigations of the 1980s. Animal suffering is endemic within fur farming and the only ethical solution, which also satisfies the demands of a majority of EU citizens, is to ban fur farming altogether. The European Commission must now take action to deliver a legislative proposal to prohibit fur farming at an EU level.”

Kristo Muurimaa, campaigns director at Finnish animal group Oikeutta eläimille, added: “Over the past decade, I have visited dozens of fur farms in Finland and elsewhere in the world, and the one common factor is the appalling welfare conditions under which the animals are standardly kept. It is extremely common to see abnormal behaviours, evidence of fighting, untreated injuries and even instances of cannibalism. I’ve seen these poor conditions on fur farms certified as complying with the industry’s voluntary animal welfare standards, demonstrating that this certification is not worth the paper it is written on. It is quite simply impossible to safeguard or guarantee the welfare of animals intensively bred for fur.”

Karolina Pelka, investigations specialist at Otwarte Klatki in Poland, said: “Given the conditions under which animals on fur farms are intensively kept, bred and killed, it is impossible to meet their complex welfare needs. Let it be clear. Any attempt to develop EU animal welfare standards for fur animals, which is based on the existing caged housing system, cannot deliver meaningful welfare improvements for these animals. Moreover, it would be an insult to the more than 1.5 million EU citizens who signed the ECI calling for a Fur Free Europe. They will be satisfied by nothing less than an EU-wide ban on fur farming.”

“In this day and age, it is reprehensible that we are still keeping and killing animals solely for their fur. This is a cruel and unnecessary practice, which—as we have seen in recent years with outbreaks of the SARS-CoV-2 and HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] viruses on fur farms—also poses a serious threat to public health. The fur industry is already in serious decline throughout Europe, consumers, retailers and fashion designers have increasingly been turning their backs on fur and fur production has been prohibited in many Member States. So let us finally end this cruel business by introducing an EU-wide ban on fur farming. The industry only exists to supply the frivolous fashion industry with luxury products that no-one actually needs. It is high time that the Commission listens to EU citizens and delivers an EU ban on fur farming,” says Tilly Metz MEP (Greens/EFA) and President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

Find pictures of the event and of MEPs supporting a ban on fur farming.


Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international media relations coordinator,

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