Opposition towards the abuse inflicted on animals by those who work in the fur industry continues to grow. Awareness is also growing about misleading labelling and the importance of ethical fashion. As the fur free movement advances, it is leading to actions to shut down this awful and deceptive industry.
Many countries, states and cities worldwide have implemented fur bans in the last two decades and the momentum is steadily building.
In 2020 more countries in Europe, such as Finland1, France2 and the Netherlands3, announced or accelerated bans on fur farming under welfare laws.
In the US, California become the first state to ban fur4 in late 2019. Several other states, such as Hawaii and Rhode Island, and cities in Massachusetts and Minnesota, have also put forward proposals to ban the sale of fur5.
In 2019, a joint investigation between the Animal Justice Party and FOUR PAWS uncovered deceptively labelled fur products in Victoria6.
The Animal Justice Party in Victoria is working towards a ban on fur and exotic products and successfully passed a motion to investigate illegal fur labelling and to establish a taskforce7.
While in NSW, the Animal Justice Party passed a motion condemning fur supported by the Upper House8.
We have also seen the successful passing of five motions to ban fur (and exotic animal products) in the following New South Wales councils:
- City of Sydney9
- Inner West Council10
- City of Canterbury Bankstown11
- Blue Mountains City Council12
- Liverpool City Council 13
FOUR PAWS is working with the Animal Justice Party to urge both NSW and Victoria, and the councils in those states, to enact bans on the import and sale of fur products. The action by councils is evidence of the strong community opposition to fur and exotic animal products.
At present, there is an absence of federal or state laws in Australia on the use and sale of fur. Even in relation to cat and dog fur, there is no direct ban on its use and sale in any state or territory, including NSW and Victoria.
Nationally, the importing and exporting of cat and dog fur into and out of Australia is prohibited14. However, there are exemptions15 and the regulations do not specify criteria for granting permission to import or export cat and dog fur.
There are also no tracing or testing mechanisms in place at customs to ascertain the source of fur and whether fur is real or fake.
How can you help?
- Sign the petition to ban fur in Australia
- Write to your local council or sign one of the Animal Justice Party council petitions below
- Ask brands to commit to being a Fur Free Retailer
Fur Free Retailer is a global initiative in ethical fashion. They provide a comprehensive list of brands that have committed to being fur free. Check if your favourite brand is on the list. If not, you can write to them and ask them to join the movement. Read more.
Through Fur Farms
in Europe and the US
The spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, continues to escalate within mink farming in Europe and the US. The already greatly suffering mink are dying in the thousands16 – animals who are not culled are left untreated and die from severe respiratory distress due to Covid-1917. Fur farms present similar dangers to wet markets for disease emergence and spread, both for Covid-19 and possible future zoonosis which could also result in a pandemic18. Given the global consequences we are battling, precaution should be exercised, and fur farming should be brought to an end.
Italy and Greece
Italy19 and Greece20 are the latest countries who have started reporting outbreaks on farms. The infection shows no sign of stopping, as it continues to spread to new farms in fur producing regions.
Sweden has also recently started reporting Covid-19 outbreaks on farms, currently 10 in total21.
At least 1.5 million mink have been culled, which represents about 30% of the industry in the Netherlands and the situation is still escalating22. In June Dutch MPs voted on a ban to phase out farms ahead of the original 2024 deadline23. The government has now officially announced plans to shut down fur farming ahead of schedule24.
Covid-19 has begun spreading in Spain, with almost 100,000 mink culled25. Mink farming is already restricted26 due to the mink exploited for farming being an introduced species and threatening native species.
In Denmark Covid-19 was detected in June27 and spread to a multitude of farms. Denmark is the biggest producer of mink fur, slaughtering about 19 million animals for fur each year28. 17 million have now been culled due to infection and fears of the spread of Covid-1929.
While the largest fur auction house in the world, Kopenhagen Fur, has recently announced that it will close over the next 2-3 years.
The United States
Covid-19 has begun spreading in mink farms in the US, beginning in Utah30. Utah is the second largest producer of mink fur in the US31. Michigan32 and Wisconsin33 have also started reporting outbreaks, the latter being the largest fur producing state34.
We could also see Covid-19 emerge within the fur industry in China which is the second biggest producer of mink35. China is also potentially the largest fur farming region overall36.
Recent research has revealed that raccoon dogs, about 15 million are killed for fur each year primarily in China37, can become infected and transmit the virus. But unlike mink, raccoon dogs show little to no symptoms, so infection can spread almost entirely undetected38.
There is no place for the cruel fur industry in a modern, compassionate society. Together we will see the end of the cruelty it inflicts upon millions of animals. #BanFur
2 French Government, http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/dyn/15/textes/l15b3293_proposition-loi
3 Dutch Government, https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/08/31/nieuwe-besmetting-covid-19-bij-nertsenbedrijf
4 California Government, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codesTOCSelected.xhtml?tocCode=FGC
5 Humane Society International, https://www.hsi.org/news-media/dutch-government-agrees-to-consider-closing-mink-fur-farms-early/
6 Choice, https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/packaging-labelling-and-advertising/labelling/articles/real-fur-that-is-labeled-faux
7 ‘Fur Trade’, Animal Justice Party (Web Page) <https://www.ajpvic.org.au/fur_trade>/ https://andymeddick.com.au/campaigns/fur/?fbclid=IwAR3uJ8vIl31BaSXU7ztkGd-tvxpl-vhlzl-1N02nFdcw5sIHEZhJTEx2-hs
8 NSW Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Council, 14 November 2019
9 City of Sydney Council, https://meetings.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=133&MId=3666
10 Inner west Council, https://innerwest.infocouncil.biz/Open/2020/06/C_23062020_AGN_3753_AT_WEB.htm
11City of Canterbury Bankstown, https://www.cbcity.nsw.gov.au/Councilccb/docs/ORD_26052020_AGN.pdf
12 Blue Mountains City Council, https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/documents/2020-08-25-council-meeting-business-paper
13 Liverpool City Council, http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2020/10/CO_20201027_AGN_423_AT_WEB.htm
14 Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (Cth) r 4W (1); Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (Cth) 9AB (1)
15 Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (Cth) r 4W (3); Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (Cth) 9AB (3)
16 Science Alert, https://www.sciencealert.com/coronavirus-is-killing-off-minks-in-their-thousands
17 & 18 Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, https://www.hsvma.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1179:fur_riskofdisease&catid=19:default
20 New York Times,https://www.nytimes.com/article/mink-coronavirus-mutation.html
21The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/09/denmark-drops-plans-for-mass-mink-cull-after-covid-mutation-fears/
22 Dutch News, https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/08/coroanvirus-found-on-more-mink-farms-pressure-mounts-on-minister-to-close-them-all
23 & 24 Dutch Government, https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/08/31/nieuwe-besmetting-covid-19-bij-nertsenbedrijf
25 Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/scientists-study-coronavirus-outbreaks-among-minks-in-europe/2020/08/02/1cbe001c-d48e-11ea-826b-cc394d824e35_story.html
26 Spanish Government https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2007-21490; https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-2011-19398
27 USDA, https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/denmark-government-cull-mink-covid-19-infected-farm-north-jutland
28 Danish Agriculture Department, https://agricultureandfood.dk/danish-agriculture-and-food/mink-and-fur
29 NBC, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/animal-news/here-s-why-denmark-culled-17-million-minks-now-plans-n1249610
30 USDA, https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/sa-2020/sa-08/sare-cov-2-mink
31& 34 USDA, https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/2227mp65f
32 Department of Agriculture Michigan, https://www.michigan.gov/mdard/0,4610,7-125–541996–,00.html
33 Department of Agriculture Wisconsin, https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/TaylorCountyMinkTestPositiveCoronavirus.aspx
35, 36 & 37 ACTAsia, China’s fur trade and its position in the global fur industry report July 2019
38 Nature, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00502-w