POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union?

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In 1994, four of the world’s most famous supermodels were splashed across billboards under the slogan “We’d rather go naked than wear fur”. Fast-forward 21 years and it seems it is now another story for Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Elle Macpherson and Cindy Crawford, who have been pictured in fur coats, gilets and trimmed parkas.

They are not alone in falling off the anti-fur wagon. Figures from the International Fur Federation show that the industry is enjoying another year of considerable growth. The demand for mink, sable, fox and ferret has soared and farmers have stepped up production.

In 2013/14, 87.2m mink pelts were produced around the world, worth a total of £2.2bn, with 35m produced by China alone.

China also remains one of the biggest producers of fox pelt, and together with Finland was responsible for 91% of the 7.8m fox furs produced globally.

The Czech Republic currently has nine registered fur farms. These farms have repeatedly been criticized both by NGOs and experts on .

The figures – the first to show a breakdown of different pelts – follow on from research by the IFF last year which valued the global fur trade at more than £26bn.

On the British catwalks last year, more than 60% of shows featured fur, and at New York fashion week the figure topped 70%. While luxury labels such as Fendi have a long history of featuring real fur in their shows, fur is increasingly being used by newer brands as well. In New York, the up-and-coming label Cushnie Et Ochs said fur was its favourite material of the season, adding that it was “not ashamed”.

This month Karl Largerfeld said he would be putting on a special “couture fur” show to mark his 50th anniversary of working for Fendi. “For me, fur is Fendi and Fendi is fur, fun furs” he said. “Fendi is my Italian version of creativity. The Fendi haute fourrure fashion show is the opportunity to stage the royal furs of furs.”

On May 3, 2012 a documentary about mink farming  was shown on Swedish television depicting a controversial business that had not only shocked many Swedes but showed also that some of the practices were contrary to the Swedish Animal Welfare act.

He told the New York Times: “For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don’t get the message. It’s very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur, but it’s an industry. Who will pay for all the unemployment of the people if you suppress the industry of the fur?”

In the 80s it was a serious fashion faux pas to step out in real fur, but today’s celebrities are rarely seen out of it. Rihanna and Rita Ora have recently been pictured in real mink coats, and Kim Kardashian dressed her one-year-old daughter North West in what was thought to be a $3,500 (£2,300) crystal fox fur coat at last month’s New York fashion week.

Lady Gaga made a Naomi Campbell-esque turnabout on the issue. Having initially denounced fur, she was later pictured in a full-length coat made of white pelt, and went on to say: “You see a carcass, I see a museum pièce de résistance.”

Stereotypical behavior, as a result of stress, occurs on all fur farms and is expressed as pacing along the cage wall, repetitive circling or nodding of the head.

Mark Oaten, CEO of the International Fur Federation, said he was unsurprised by the growth in productionas the taboo around wearing real fur was fading into irrelevance. “We knew from the catwalks that fur is certainly being used much more by designers and from some of the retail figures, which can be patchy and difficult, that the sales are going strongly,” he said. “So with this increase in demand, farmers are deciding to invest more in fur farms and increase production.”

Oaten, a former Liberal Democrat MP, said Asia and Hong Kong remained the big players in the fur trade, both in terms of demand and production, but emphasised there was a shift towards buyers in America and Europe.

“Designers appear to be embracing it, customers appear to be embracing it and we certainly find the younger generation have less of an issue with fur than the younger generation of the 1980s,” he said.

“But it’s changed rapidly, even in the past three or four months. We’ve seen a change of patterns of the kind of consumers in Asia. Six months ago I would have said Beijing and Shanghai are really hot markets, but now we are seeing a shift away to the second- and third-tier cities in China as well. We’ve also seen an enormous increase in America because fur has had an incredibly busy runway and it has also been extraordinarily cold.”

Fox in fur farm (The Ghosts In Our Machine_We Animals © 2012)

In the UK, members of the British Fur Trade Association reported a 20% increase in sales last year. The association’s chief executive, Mike Moser, said the growth was being driven as much by younger generations as by foreign millionaires.

“It’s hot stuff because fur is being used in a real fun way in fashion now,” he said. “It’s more accessible for young people because of the increase of fur trims on coats and fur accessories.

“The BFTA runs an annual competition for design students using fur and this year we’ve seen a 50% increase in the number of students taking art. They just want to use fur in their designs which proves there such a strong interest in the younger generation.”

While the fur industry in countries such as Canada, the US and Europe remains heavily regulated, concerns remain over China, which is much more lax about the welfare of animals. Oaten conceded it was a concern for the IFF and said cleaning up the Chinese fur trade remained a priority.

Blue foxes have a very thick fur to keep them warm. Because on solid surface the fur would flatten, the animals actually prefer net flooring to solid flooring. Still, overgrown claws and wounded paws may occur even if the net is covered with plastic. Photo (c) Greengirlabroad

“Obviously with so much mink coming from China, one of my big priorities is to make sure that they understand what the requirements are for welfare,” he said. “I was in China a couple weeks ago meeting with government officials. They have already adopted Council of Europe guidelines on welfare and we’ve had a long dialogue with them to implement even stronger welfare protocols. The difficulty does still lie in ensuring these regulations are always enforced in such a large country.”

Oaten said he was a personal fan of pelts. “I use a lot of fur for interiors,” he said. “Though I’ve not yet found a fur coat that suits me.”

This article was first published by The Guardian on 25 Mar 2016.

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Sys J. Summer

A fur is an exclusive fashion that milionaires pays for ”exclusive” models against synthetic that gives million jobs on world! I vote YES for animals first.

Anne Lee
Anne Lee

Except for aborigines, WAY OUTDATED.

Sue Lesmond
Sue Lesmond

The only good hunter is a dead one.Hunt the hunter!

Shane Waett

Ban it ..its deplorable

Lynn Nye

I would never wear anything dead

Lourdes Lara Sever

We all know Very Well that China will not follow any type of guidelines! They inhumanely eat very many kinds of animals! Which in many regions of the World, especially the United States, are looked down upon!! All fur farming, needs to be STOPPED NOW!!

Tina Sallis

i agree, i am vegan , but your on the wrong page this is about fur farming

Tina Sallis

Sonnie Di

Sonnie Di

I totally agree!! All Animals need to be treated with dignity, all Animal lives matter!

Sonnie Di

we also have plenty ways to grow food, we don't need meat!

Sonnie Di

why the hell do we need to brutaly rase and kill Farm Animals? And steal the Milk from Baby Cow?

Sonnie Di

so should eating meat!

Sonnie Di

Are you Vegan too? Just asking.

Sonnie Di

I agree, but you forget to mention thus who eat meat should be required to see how brutal farm Animals and Dogs are rased and slaughterd for human greed.

Louis Lodyga

There is no need for real fur, when you have artifical fur!

Sharon Dee

We are not cave people anymore….we do not need their fur….and we do not need to promote suffering of our brothers and sisters of the four legged nations.

Shesh Panneerselvam

Why is it that in this day and age we need a poll and petition to end such suffering. Its disgusting. End this cruel practice, we dont need their skin!

Katie Klopchin

YES. Let these beautiful creatures keep their fur and their lives. We have plenty of humane ways we can keep warm.

Luis Vegano Delgado

Wear your own skin not some tortured animal that wants to live. People that wear fur are cavemen and barbaric and deserve to be beaten to death.

Rob Wolter

You were born with the only skin you need, don't steal another's!

Ditte Edin

Ban fur farms and bullfighting. It's medieval!

Susan Mason

cruelty at the highest level, this Barbaric act should be banned for ever, heartbreaking to see defenceless animals abused for mindless morons and there vanity, anyone who considers wearing fur when they see such disgusting cruelty should hang there heads in shame

Sue Cole

How could anyone, knowingly and they do know, wear something that belongs to another living creature!

Ritva Juutilainen

banned also asap please in china and asian etc countries…

Treycee Peka-Baker

Absolutely, this disgusting, cruel and coward Industry needs to be shut down permanently. It shouldn't have started in the first place.

Annette Howell

All fur 'farming' needs to be banned! It's NOT & hasn't been necessary for decades now! It's people who are greedy & refuse to consider these animals have or had lives before they got their grubby hands on them!!!

Michal A. Kessler


Carina Lobel West

It should be stopped. Yes.

NanaLiz Storey

It should be banned across the world and shops should not be allowed to sell it – especially fur from China where the animals are flayed alive then dumped to suffer an agonising death – what is even worse is the fact that shops in the UK sell it as faux fur so stupid gullible people thinks its fake or synthetic – the women and men who wear fur should be harshly punished for buying it!

Marta Falco

real fur must be unacceptable to any decent human being.

Dora Stanculescu

This is a tragedy ! We do not need their furs,we need them alive, safe and free to live their lives ! This is so cruel,a senseless cruelty ,stop it,please !!!

Fay Funnell

Mink are semi-aquatic. How do you regulate for that appalling deprivation! The whole fur trade is barbaric and should not be tolerated by members of the public.

Barbara McNeilly

Fur is worn as a status symbol, despite many alternatives. Anyone living in the First World has no need whatsoever to wear fur, and that makes it truly obscene to wear it.

Maria Rizzo Roy

We do not need to wear them,,,they do,,leave them alone,,,leave these harmless, innocent creatures alone.

Donata Butler

Fur belongs on animals.if people were ment to wear fur we'd have grown our own

Naomi Oliver

Fur is so unnecessary. I just dont 'get' those who wear it.
all I can think is they have no understanding of suffering and have not looked into the eyes of the suffering creatures which they are responsible for. Unfortunately they also breed.

Doreen Mapes

Fur farming is Horrific causing so much suffering for the animal, Ban fur farming in every country..And Please no one buy/wear fur!!!!!

Connie Jean Puckett

Please stop this using fur when you can use fake that looks like the real thing. Animals should not be killed for their fur. Connie Puckett Kingsport,TN

Alicia Reyes

I'm am against all fur farms. Ido not believe in wearing an animals God given fur! Faux fur if any!

Jennifer L Hannah Baiardi

they need to leave those babys alone

Kimberly Brecher-Oliver

SICK !!!

Little Lynne

Yes definitly fur farming should be stopped, what that poor animal goes through just for a person to wear, its disgraceful this torture of animals, ban fur farming

Nathalie Fageon Guiader

Àh je me suis trompé en voulant signez avant de partir j'ai signez non croyant dire non à la fourrure,je me mettreait des claques,vous pouvez rajouter une voie dans les non et enlevez une dàns les oui,non à cette abomination

Abigail Blee

Yes fur farming should be banned from the whole world not just the EU, there shouldn't be a question about it, it should be banned without a doubt. Animals are not ours to abuse or exploit in any way.

Jenny Spencer

Looking at someone wearing exotic fur looks like someone wearing death, ignorance and horror..

Beejay Cody

Humans = scourge of the earth…When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.
~ Cree Prophecy ~

Maricor Salvador


Gladys Taketa-Benton

Ostrich skin, cow hide, alligator, mink, rabbit, fox, dog hide, etc. This all doesn't matter- an animal was murdered so humans can profit..we don't need these things, the animals do. I boycott any use of animals!!

Gladys Taketa-Benton

It is beyond sad that this should even be a question. The only one who needs to wear fur is the animal itself. In this this day and age, there is no need whatsoever to have to wear fur! There are alternatives that do not include harming an animal. As someone had posted earlier, humans have not evolved and we remain as barbaric as we were thousands of years ago. This is a shameful record we hold. Wearing the fur of another living being pander to our sins of vanity and greed and the sense that we are better than… Read more »

Helen Smith

There's too much evil in this world ..you may not believe it until you see an animal that skinned alive and whimpering in a trash can..