Sydney (24 June 2020) – Last night, the fight against the fur industry took two steps forward.
On a global level, Dutch politicians voted in favour of closing mink fur farms by the end of the year, following COVID-19 outbreaks on a reported 17 mink farms and the controversial mass culling of thousands of mink and mink pups in recent weeks. While closer to home, Sydney’s Inner West Council passed a motion in favour of ending fur and exotic skin sales.
“Many countries and cities are responding to public demand and ending their support for fur sales,” said Elise Burgess, Head of Communications at FOUR PAWS Australia, the Australian representative of the global Fur Free Retailer initiative which has signed the likes of Prada, Gucci and H&M to its fur free commitments, and founder of the Wear it Kind animal welfare in fashion campaign.
"Fur farming is factory farming, and is a potential breeding ground for pandemics. Australia must ban all imports and sales of fur – for both the animals, and to help stop the spread of dangerous viruses.”
A 2019 YouGov opinion poll found 88% of Australians who are aware of animal cruelty issues in fashion, are concerned about the welfare and treatment of animals in the fur industry.
Dutch decision a sign of the times
Mink fur farming was banned in The Netherlands in 2013 with a deadline for complete phase out by 2024. The Netherlands is one of the largest fur markets currently operating with approximately 128 fur farms and farming around 4.5 million mink in 2018. This makes the decision made overnight a significant moment in the fight against fur.
Importantly, risk and cruelty are not limited to the Netherlands, it is endemic to all countries with fur farming.
Industrialised farming imprisons masses of animals, in unsanitary and abysmal conditions, in which they become immunocompromised, creating the perfect breeding ground for deadly viruses to mutate and spread.
Thomas Pietsch FOUR PAWS Wildlife Expert said: “The situation in the Netherlands underlines once again that the cruel fur industry is a relic from the past and has no future. Fur farming causes indefensible animal suffering and poses an unmanageable health risk. One of the lessons of the current crisis is that we need to make fundamental changes in the way we treat animals. Today’s consumers don’t want animals to suffer for the sake of fashion.”
Sydney Inner West Council passes motion banning the sale of fur
Last night, Inner West Independent MP Pauline Lockie successfully passed a motion in favour of prohibiting the sale of animal fur and exotic skin products on Council property with near-unanimous support, with only one vote against.
“I was delighted to bring this motion to Inner West Council, and to build on the incredible work being done by FOUR PAWS Australia to end the cruel trade in animal fur and exotic skins. I’m proud that we’ll now be taking real and practical steps to make sure fur and exotic animal skin products aren’t sold on Council property, as well as adding our voice to calls for action at state and federal level.”
Pauline Lockie, Independent Councillor for the Stanmore ward of the Inner West Council.
“We are thrilled that the Inner West council will now review its market and event application forms and guidelines to prohibit these sales,” says Burgess.
Sydney Council and Canterbury Council have also passed motions supporting the banning of fur, exotic skins and exotic animal products.
Although there is no large-scale fur farming in Australia, fur products continue to enter the market, including fur used in trims, cheap clothing, souvenirs, children’s toys and even as so-called faux fur.
In 2019, FOUR PAWS carried out a joint investigation with the Animal Justice Party in Victoria, making the alarming discovery that faux fur contained real animal fur, from raccoon dogs and other animals.
“FOUR PAWS is urging Australians to call on Premiers Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews to lead the way, and make their states the first to ban the sale of fur," said Burgess.
Over 5,800 people have already joined the call at https://wearitkind.org/ban-fur/
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.
Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in 12 countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au