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A momentous leap forward in the protection of animals was reached in the Dutch Senate today: a large majority voted to ban the production of fur. The ban will come in effect on January 1st 2024.
This decision focused on mink fur production, but as the farming of foxes and chinchillas for their fur was banned in The Netherlands in the 1990s, this is in practical terms a total ban on all fur farming. As a matter of principle it is as well: the bill bans mink fur farming on ethical grounds. It argues that killing animals and infringing their welfare to make a non-essential product like fur cannot be justified.
This is a great success for WSPA’s partner society Bont voor Dieren (‘Fur for Animals’), which has campaigned for many years to put a stop on fur farming in The Netherlands. Their work integrated public actions, research, opinion polls, petitions, undercover investigation, cultural events, radio and television adds and a strong political lobby. The Dutch RSPCA (‘Dierenbescherming’) and WSPA supported Bont voor Dieren’s campaign, as did dozens of Dutch celebrities.
Already in 2009, the Dutch Parliament voted already in favour of the ban, but the Senate regarded the compensation for the mink farmers insufficient. With several amendments – and with two national elections in the middle – the bill now finally passed the Senate. Mink farmers are given the opportunity to phase out their business before January 1st 2024.
The Dutch ban on fur farming could encourage several countries to follow the Dutch example and generate wider international momentum, especially given that the Netherlands is one of the world’s largest producers of mink fur. Each year, the Dutch kill 6 million mink. Furthermore, a ban sets a precedent of immense value to organisations around the world working to bring an end to this cruel and unethical industry.
Finally, by banning the farming of animals for their fur the Netherlands sends a vital message to retailers and consumers; that fur is of a bygone age and to breed and kill animals just for fashion or luxury is at complete odds with contemporary views of animal ethics and sentience.