Fur Free Europe

7 Oct 2022
Yesterday MEPs showed strong support for the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) Fur Free Europe. With over 400,00 signatures already gained, President of the Intergroup, Tilly Metz (The Greens/EFA, LU), said she has no doubts that the ECI will reach the requisite 1 million signatures by the deadline of May next year.

We heard from CEO Reineke Hameleers, on behalf of Fur Free Europe, who explained concretely the five reasons why fur farming should be made history. Fur Farming is inherently cruel, it poses a threat to public and animal health, it is damaging the environment, citizens do not want fur farming, and there is no economic case. These reasons can be read in detail in the report, Fur Free Europe

The Intergroup then heard from Rebecca Cappelli, Director of the documentary SLAY, which exposes the fashion industry. MEPs were incredibly moved watching an excerpt from the documentary, and MEP Tilly Metz vowed to never tolerate any display of fur fashion in the European Parliament ever again (referring to an exhibition that took place in the European Parliament some years ago). You can watch the popular documentary SLAY online. 

Bo Algers, Professor Emeritus of Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, gave an excellent presentation on the behavioural needs of mink and foxes in the fur industry. There was a shift of mood in the room, as MEPs saw video clips of mink and foxes enjoying their natural habitat, doing things they are motivated to do such as swimming and digging; such things mink and foxes spending their lives in cages for fur fashion never get a chance to do. 

Minister for Social Affairs, Health, Care & Consumer Protection, Austria, Mr Johannes Rauch, intervened with a video message calling on all Member States to show their support to the ECI.

"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”.

This reflected the Information note tabled by Austria and the Netherlands, and supported by a total of 12 Member States calling on the Commission to investigate the possibilities to ban fur farming in Europe. 

Following all presentations, MEPs were very keen to intervene to learn more and discuss how best they could show their support for this important topic. Michal Weizik (Renew, SK) wanted to know whether there has been a drop in demand for fur fashion in Europe. According to fur fashion activists, 69% of top fashion brands, such as Prada, Gucci, Versaci, do not use animal fur in their products. 

MEP Anja Hazekamp (The Left, NL) proposed the creation of an Intergroup Working Group on Fur Free Europe, which received a lot of support from her fellow Intergroup members. Should you wish to join this Working Group, please send your application to the Intergroup Secretariat.

NotesThe Power Point Presentation of the Fur Free Europe Intergroup session.