Fur Free Europe Working Group


Anja Hazekamp (The Left, NL) 



Francisco Guerreiro (Greens/EFA, PT)

Maria Noichl (S&D, DE)

Pascal Durand (RE, FR)

Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, FI)


Alexis Georgoulis (The Left, GR)

Margrete Auken (Greens/EFA, DK)

Marisa Matias (The Left, PT)

Martin Hojsik (RE, SK)

Michal Wiezik (RE, SK)

Nikolaj Villumsen (The Left, DK)

Pär Holmgren (Greens/EFA, SE)

Sylwia Spurek (Greens/EFA, PL)

Ville Niinistö (Greens/EFA, FI)

The Working Group is coordinated by Bethania Malmberg from Eurogroup for Animalsin close collaboration with the Fur Free Alliance.

The breeding of animals for the purposes of fur production is a highly controversial activity, which is opposed by a vast majority of EU citizens, as is clearly shown by the ongoing European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Fur Free Europe’. It is simply impossible to ensure the welfare of animals on fur farms. Whilst no animal should live in a caged environment, the keeping of inherently wild species in cages can only be defined as abject cruelty. Keeping and killing of animals solely for the purpose of fur production is ethically unacceptable, regardless of whether the animals are wild or domesticated.

While there are currently diverse housing systems that ensure higher welfare standards for animals raised for food purposes, the only housing system currently used for fur farming purposes worldwide is based on wire cages. Following the European Commission’s commitment to a cage-free future for farming and the move towards a species-specific behaviour approach, the keeping of innately wild animals in confinement simply cannot be legitimised.  

Since the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in 2020, the debate about fur farming has grown exponentially. It has been acknowledged that the continuation of fur farming represents a risk to public health, acting as reservoirs of pathogens and zoonoses. There is scientific evidence that mink and raccoon dogs in fur farms can transmit, mutate and serve as intermediate hosts for SARS-CoV-2. 

At the institutional level, crucial steps have been taken. In its adopted Report on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the European Parliament acknowledged that fur production significantly compromises animal welfare and increases the susceptibility to infectious diseases, including zoonoses:

“ [...] fur production, which involves the confinement of thousands of undomesticated animals of a similar genotype in close proximity to one another under chronically stressful conditions, can significantly compromise animal welfare and increases their susceptibility to infectious diseases including zoonoses [...].”

During the 28-29 June meeting of the [AGRIFISH] Council, the Netherlands and Austria presented a declaration on fur farming. This initiative was supported by a further ten Member States calling on the European Commission to investigate the possibility for an EU ban on fur farming based on animal welfare, veterinary-public health and ethical considerations. 

During the last two decades, the lack of EU-action to address the problems inherent to fur farming has led several Member States to implement diverse legislative measures. To date, twenty Member States have imposed such measures, in the form of full bans, temporary bans due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, partial bans for particular species, or bans on the construction of new fur farms. Finally, some Member States have phased out fur farming and some are considering a ban. 

Fur farming legislation in EU Member States: 

Member State

Type of legislative measure



Ban on keeping and killing all species for fur purposes 

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Wallonia: ban on keeping and killing all species for fur purposes 


Brussels: ban on keeping and killing all species for fur purposes


Flanders: phase-out by 2023

Animal welfare, health of the animals and environmental impact 


Animal welfare, health of the animals and environmental impact


Animal welfare and risks to indigenous fauna, the American mink is an invasive species


Ban on import and breeding of mink 

Biodiversity concerns (Resolution of Minister of Environment and Water: not in force due the appeal proceeding)


Ban on rearing animals for fur purposes after a 10-years phasing out period

Animal welfare and ethical concerns

Czech Republic

Ban on breeding and killing animals solely or primarily for the purpose of obtaining fur

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Ban on fox farming


Ban on building new raccoon dog farms


Suspension of mink farming until 2023 

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Public health (COVID-19 outbreaks)


Ban on keeping and breeding animals solely or mainly for the purpose of production of fur. Phase out by 2026

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Immediate ban on the breeding of American mink and animals of other non-domestic species exclusively for fur production

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Phase-out until 2022 due to stricter welfare requirements

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Immediate ban on the breeding of mink, foxes, polecats and coypu for fur

Animal welfare and public health concerns (COVID-19 outbreak on mink fur farms across Europe). The ban was adopted with the aim to prevent fur farmers from other countries moving their operations there


Prohibition on the keeping of animals primarily for their fur or skin

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Ban on the farming, breeding in captivity, capture and killing of animals of any species for the purpose of obtaining fur

Animal welfare, ethical and public health concerns


Ban on breeding animals for the main purpose of collecting their fur to be implemented as of 2026

Animals welfare and ethical grounds


Ban on raising an animal for the main use of the skin, fur, feathers or wool

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Prohibition of fur farming with immediate effect

There are no fur farms in Malta. The ban represents a precautionary measure to prevent fur farms from other countries from moving to Malta

The Netherlands

Ban on keeping, killing or allowing killing of an animal for fur

Animal welfare and ethical concerns. The ban had a phase-out period by 2024, but due to corona outbreaks, an earlier shutdown was declared in 2020


Ban on breeding and killing fur animals solely or primarily for the purpose of obtaining fur. Phase-out by 2025

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Prohibition on breeding and hunting animals only in order to obtain their fur, skins or feathers

Animal welfare and ethical concerns


Prohibition on the building of new mink fur farms 

Biodiversity concerns (to prevent ecological damage)


Phase-out of fox and chinchilla farms due to stricter animal welfare requirements


Temporary ban on mink farming during 2021, lifted in 2022 with certain restrictions

Animal welfare concerns


Public health (COVID-19 outbreak)

Following the logical step of ending fur production, a growing movement of trade bans have been observed lately.  In June 2021, Israel became the world’s first country to prohibit the sales of fur.   In the United States, the momentum for fur sales bans is spreading. In October 2019, California became the first state in the United States to adopt a ban on the sales and production of animal fur products. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and West Hollywood banned new fur sales. Cities in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Florida have followed similar steps.

In May 2020, the Commission adopted the Farm to Fork Strategy, announcing that it will, by the end of 2023, revise animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence. This forthcoming proposal represents a unique opportunity to propose a ban on placing farmed fur products on the European market. Such a proposal would be absolutely in line with recent scientific evidence, public opinion and the Commission’s intention of transitioning to cage-free systems.
Fur Free Europe Working Group Launch

To address these concerns, the Intergroup decided in October 2022 to set up an ad-hoc and cross-party working group. The group is chaired by MEP Anja Hazekamp (The Left, NL). 

This Working Group’s main objective is to support and promote the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Fur Free Europe’. The ECI seeks to mobilise citizens throughout the EU against the inhumane and outdated practice of fur farming and to make their voices heard inside the EU institutions.


  • To coordinate amongst political groups (in collaboration with civil society organisations involved in the ECI) with a view to ensuring the Parliamentary process, from the public hearing to a debate round up with a Motion for a Resolution, so that a resolution of the Parliament on an EU-wide ban on fur farming is adopted as soon as possible.

Put pressure on the Commission to include a proposal for a ban on fur farming in the EU and the placement and import of farmed fur products on the European market as part of anticipated legislative proposal on animals kept and traded for commercial purposes (“kept animals proposal”);

  • Prompt press interest in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe;
  • Support local campaigns at Member State level and act as spokespersons;
  • Raise awareness in the European Parliament about the serious cross-cutting issues regarding fur farming and fur trade. Promote political debate related to the interconnections between fur farming, public health and environmental concerns.
  • Present the problems along with solutions and actions MEPs propose to take;
  • Host and participate in a number of events in the European Parliament;
  • Oppose any further lobbying events from the fur industry within the premises of the European Parliament  
  • Join public campaign activities in order to apply further pressure and draw attention to the issue;