European Campaign For Animal Rights: End Mink Fur Farming in Europe
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There are 6,000 fur farms in the EU. The EU accounts for 63% of global mink production and 70% of fox production.
Animals on fur farms live in cramped and dirty wire cages. They are killed using the cheapest and most cruel methods, including suffocation, electrocution, gas, and poison.
It is of course encouraging that several EU Member States have recognised the inherent cruelty of raising and killing wild animals in this way. Austria, the United Kingdom and Croatia passed legislation to prohibit the breeding of animals for fur production. The Netherlands has also embarked on a process to phase-out mink farms by 2024.
However, this leaves many countries across the European Union where the practice of fur farming is still legal. This means that companies facing a ban in one country can simply move their production to another EU country that does not yet have a ban. This has been seen most recently with companies from the Netherlands moving farms to countries such as Romania.
We now ask the European Parliament to ban fur farming across the European Union for the following reasons:
Major concerns about animal welfare on fur farms
Mink and foxes are essentially wild animals. As the European Commission’s own Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW) concluded in its 2001 report, "The Welfare of Animals Kept for Fur Production":
“...these species, in comparison with other farm animals, have been subjected to relatively little active selection, except with respect to fur characteristics. There has thus been only a limited amount of selection for tameness and adaptability to captive environments.”
Mink are wild and solitary by nature. They are not herd animals like many other farm animals. Mink and fox are territorial and, in the wild, go to great lengths to defend their territories. As acknowledged by the European Commission’s own report, these animals are unsuited to intensive farming and confinement.
When these essentially wild animals are kept in small, wire cages on fur farms, they have been found to exhibit behaviours such as stereotypical pacing along the cage wall, repetitive circling/nodding of the head and self-mutilation.
Cruel methods for killing the animals on fur farms
Mink on fur farms are usually gassed to death after being placed one after the other in killing boxes.
Another method used is anal electrocution which requires considerable restraint, and use of electrodes inserted into orifices. If cardiac arrest is caused without first inducing unconsciousness, there is potential for the animal to experience extreme pain and distress. New York State has banned electrocution of foxes. The anal electrocution method was also banned in the UK before fox farming was prohibited there altogether.
This is an industry that inflicts extreme cruelty, both in the way it forces animals to live and the methods used to kill. There are countless natural and synthetic alternatives for the clothing industry to use. We therefore request that the European Parliament moves quickly to legislate to end the practice of fur farming across the entire European Union, and to include specific provisions in any free trade agreements negotiated by the EU with third countries.
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