MEPs discuss FUR FREE EUROPE

Brussels 09.10.2022 European Parliament: a first conversation on “Fur Free Europe”.A clear message of support from MEPs calling for a future without fur, while the ECI “Fur Free Europe” reaches more than 400,000 signatures in less than five months. The Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals held a dedicated meeting in Strasbourg on “The case for a Fur Free Europe”: scientific experts, MEPs, Member States and civil society make their case for a new Europe without fur.

In May 2022, Eurogroup for Animals, together with 80 NGOs, launched the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Fur Free Europe which has already collected more than 400,000 signatures. The ECI calls on the EU to ban fur farming and the placement on the European market of farmed fur products, since fur is unethical, unsafe and unsustainable.

The role of the European Parliament and its elected representatives is key to turning this massive public call into reality. That’s why the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals held a dedicated meeting in Strasbourg on “The case for a Fur Free Europe”.

After an introduction from the President of the Intergroup Tilly Metz MEP (LU, Greens/EFA), Reineke Hameleers presented the campaign on behalf of Fur Free Europe, and introduced the new report on the reasons why we need to ban fur farming and the placement of farmed fur products on the European market from public health, legal, environmental and ethical perspectives.

“More than 400,000 citizens have already made it clear that fur no longer has a place in Europe. Member States are ready to back their request. Today’s exchange with experts, MEPs and the horrific but important images from the documentary complement the request. Society as a whole is ready to transition away from cruelty, Europe is ready for this move and, in order to succeed, we need the EP to be strong in its demands toward the EC. I am positive we can count on the elected representatives. 2023 can be the year we make history for the animals and for the EU”, commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals.

The presentation was followed by a partial screening of the documentary SLAY from the makers of the award-winning films Cowspiracy and What The Health. SLAY follows filmmaker Rebecca Cappelli’s journey around the world to uncover the dark side of the fashion industry: a harrowing story of greenwashing, mislabeling, and animal cruelty. SLAY provides an in-depth and eye-opening look into the realities of today’s fashion industry while pointing the way towards viable and sustainable alternatives.

“The suffering of animals in the fashion industry is greenwashed into oblivion while those skin industries are destroying the planet and harming people. SLAY aims to challenge the notion that animal skins are a fabric, and open people’s eyes to the dark realities behind some of the most sought after skins in fashion”, said Rebecca Cappelli, Director and Producer of the film.

Bo Algers, Professor emeritus at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, gave a presentation on the “Behavioural needs of Mink and Foxes in the fur industry”.

Johannes Rauch, Austrian Federal Minister of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection intervened with a video message:

“In my role as Minister of Health, I strongly push towards the realisation of the „One Health“ approach. That means we have to look at human health, animal health and environmental health as interlinked issues that strongly impact one another. I am convinced that we will have to fundamentally change this system of animal exploitation to avoid future pandemics. This is why I wholeheartedly support the European Citizens’ Initiative for a Fur Free Europe and I want to ask you to support it as well. The EU must use its power and also close the EU market to farmed fur products from outside the EU. Just like we have done with products from certain trapping methods, seal products or cat and dog fur. In order to make progress and live up to our moral standards and the responsible treatment of animals as sentient beings, I strongly urge all of you to support this common cause, support the Citizens‘ initiative and make this step possible towards the goal of a fur free Europe”.

The message echoed the information note tabled by Austria and the Netherlands during a meeting of the Council of the European Union (Agriculture and Fisheries), supported by Belgium, Germany Luxembourg and Slovakia, calling on the European Commission to investigate the possibility for a ban on fur farming. The call to end fur farming in the EU on the grounds of animal welfare, public health and ethical considerations, was backed by a total of twelve Member States during the deliberations on this paper.

Eurogroup for Animals represents over eighty animal protection organisations across the EU, UK, Switzerland, Serbia, Norway, and Australia. Since its foundation in 1980, the organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup for Animals reflects public opinion through its members and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal protection. Eurogroup for Animals is a founding member of the World Federation for Animals which unites the animal protection movement at the global level.

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