27 September 2023 – Lithuania has today become the 20th European country to completely ban fur farming, sparing around one million animals a year from miserable lives and cruel deaths on fur farms.
Lithuanian President, Gitanas Nausėda, signed into law the banning of fur farms in his country, the law will come into full effect on the 1st of January 2027 with the transition phase to begin immediately.
President Nausėda, said he signed it "because it meets my principles".
There are 44 mink farms in Lithuania right now. Together, these farms raise and breed almost a million animals annually. Additionally, there are 30 chinchilla farms that produce about 30,000 animals yearly.
FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, dedicated the result to the many animal welfare activists who had campaigned on this key issue over the past few decades.
Thomas Pietsch, FOUR PAWS Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles, said, “Lithuanian now joins many other countries who are rejecting this cruel and barbaric trade which has no place in a modern economy or a modern society, especially when it comes to aligning with public health matters.
This is a momentous day for the animal welfare community at large and especially those in Lithuania. The majority of the public around the world have been progressive on topics such as this and now their legislators are catching up.”
The landmark decision comes after years of advocacy and public pressure from animal welfare organisations, activists, and concerned citizens, led by Fur Free Alliance member Tušti Narvai. Gabriele Vaitkevičiūtė, campaign leader of Tušti Narvai, said, “In the past year alone, citizens have written nearly 27,000 letters to decision-makers to demand an end to the brutal confinement and killing of animals for fur. Today, Lithuania has made history and put yet another nail in the coffin of the cruel fur industry. This ban is a clear statement to the rest of the world that the needless abuse of animals in the name of decorations will no longer be tolerated.”
In June of this year the final count of validated signatures for the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Fur Free Europe’, which aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on keeping and killing of animals for the sole purpose of fur production, was confirmed at an impressive 1,502,319 submitted to the European Commission.
"As we have seen with the ‘Fur Free Europe’ European Citizens’ Initiative, where Lithuania is a country with a population of well under 3 million had over fifty-three thousand people sign it, this is a country who wants stronger legislation to protect animals. Its passion is there for all to see."
Thomas Pietsch, FOUR PAWS Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles
The domino effect of eradicating fur farms across the EU keeps on going. The next step is now for it to be implemented at EU Level and we fully expect that to happen with the European Commission's up and coming animal welfare revision which is due before the end of 2023.”
The ECI Fur Free Europe was officially registered by the European Commission on 16/03/2022 and ran from 18/05/2022 until 01/03/2023. The ECI was submitted by a group of citizens from seven EU Member States. It aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on the keeping and killing of animals for the sole or main purpose of fur production, as well as placing farmed animal fur, and products containing such fur, on the EU market.
In June 2023, 1,502,319 signatures were officially submitted to the European Commission. This marks the 10th successful ECI since the tool was launched in 2012. Seven out of ten successful ECIs have been dedicated to animal issues and Fur Free Europe represents the most successful ECI for animal welfare, while being the third most successful overall.
The European Union is one of the main regions for fur production globally. Every year millions of animals (mainly mink, foxes and raccoon dogs) are legally confined in small wire mesh cages and killed to produce unnecessary, easily replaceable fur articles. The mission is to end this cruel practice by introducing an EU-wide prohibition of fur farming.
Animal welfare – revision of EU legislation:
Currently, the European Commission is putting most of the laws and regulations concerning animal welfare through a thorough fitness check. They will evaluate whether the legal framework is still adequately protecting the animals in the European Union. As part of this longer process, the European Commission has launched a Public Consultation to give all European residents the chance to share their opinions and priorities.
- More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide—that is equivalent to three animals dying every second, just for their fur.
- Fur farming has been banned in 19 European countries (14 of which are EU member states), including the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Malta, Ireland, Estonia, France, Italy and most recently, on 22nd September 2022, Latvia. Political discussions on a ban are also underway in Romania, Lithuania, Spain and Poland. A further two countries (Switzerland and Germany) have implemented such strict regulations that fur farming has effectively ended, and three other countries (Denmark, Sweden and Hungary) have imposed measures that have ended the farming of certain species.
- An increasing number of fashion designers and retailers are dropping fur cruelty. In the last few years alone, Canada Goose, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Gucci, Burberry, Versace, Chanel, Prada and other high-profile brands have announced fur-free policies.
- The United Nations Comtrade statistics show that between 2011 and 2021, the value of imports fell from around 318.8 million euros to 107.8 million euros. The production of fur in the EU has also decreased sharply from 38 million animal skins in 2018 to around eleven million in 2021.
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. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au