Ending the Suffering of Animals in the Fur Industry – Major Milestones 2020

Opposition towards the abuse inflicted on animals by those who work in the fur industry continues to grow. Awareness is also growing about misleading labelling and the importance of ethical fashion. As the fur free movement advances, it is leading to actions to shut down this awful and deceptive industry.

Many countries, states and cities worldwide have implemented fur bans in the last two decades and the momentum is steadily building.

In 2020 more countries in Europe, such as Finland1Fur-Free Alliance, https://www.furfreealliance.com/finnish-social-democrats-take-a-historical-stand-against-fur-farming, France2French Government, http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/dyn/15/textes/l15b3293_proposition-loi and the Netherlands3Dutch Government, https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/08/31/nieuwe-besmetting-covid-19-bij-nertsenbedrijf, announced or accelerated bans on fur farming under welfare laws.

In the US, California become the first state to ban fur4California Government, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codesTOCSelected.xhtml?tocCode=FGC. in late 2019. Several other states, such as Hawaii and Rhode Island, and cities in Massachusetts and Minnesota, have also put forward proposals to ban the sale of fur5Humane Society International, https://www.hsi.org/news-media/dutch-government-agrees-to-consider-closing-mink-fur-farms-early/..


In 2019, a joint investigation between the Animal Justice Party and FOUR PAWS uncovered deceptively labelled fur products in Victoria6Choice, https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/packaging-labelling-and-advertising/labelling/articles/real-fur-that-is-labeled-faux.

The Animal Justice Party in Victoria is working towards a ban on fur and exotic products and successfully passed a motion to investigate illegal fur labelling and to establish a taskforce7‘Fur Trade’, Animal Justice Party (Web Page) <https://www.ajpvic.org.au/fur_trade>/ https://andymeddick.com.au/campaigns/fur/?fbclid=IwAR3uJ8vIl31BaSXU7ztkGd-tvxpl-vhlzl-1N02nFdcw5sIHEZhJTEx2-hs.
While in NSW, the Animal Justice Party passed a motion condemning fur supported by the Upper House8NSW Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Council, 14 November 2019.

We have also seen the successful passing of five motions to ban fur (and exotic animal products) in the following New South Wales councils:

  • City of Sydney9City of Sydney Council, https://meetings.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=133&MId=3666
  • Inner West Council10Inner west Council, https://innerwest.infocouncil.biz/Open/2020/06/C_23062020_AGN_3753_AT_WEB.htm.
  • City of Canterbury Bankstown11City of Canterbury Bankstown, https://www.cbcity.nsw.gov.au/Councilccb/docs/ORD_26052020_AGN.pdf.
  • Blue Mountains City Council12Blue Mountains City Council, https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/documents/2020-08-25-council-meeting-business-paper.
  • Liverpool City Council 13Liverpool City Council, http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2020/10/CO_20201027_AGN_423_AT_WEB.htm.

FOUR PAWS is working with the Animal Justice Party to urge both NSW and Victoria, and the councils in those states, to enact bans on the import and sale of fur products. The action by councils is evidence of the strong community opposition to fur and exotic animal products.

At present, there is an absence of federal or state laws in Australia on the use and sale of fur. Even in relation to cat and dog fur, there is no direct ban on its use and sale in any state or territory, including NSW and Victoria.

Nationally, the importing and exporting of cat and dog fur into and out of Australia is prohibited14Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (Cth) r 4W (1); Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (Cth) 9AB (1). . However, there are exemptions15Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (Cth) r 4W (3); Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (Cth) 9AB (3). and the regulations do not specify criteria for granting permission to import or export cat and dog fur.

There are also no tracing or testing mechanisms in place at customs to ascertain the source of fur and whether fur is real or fake.

How can you help?

1) Sign the petition to ban fur in Australia

Join 8.5k voices to call on Premiers Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews to lead the way and ban fur sales in VIC and NSW.

2) Write to your local council or sign one of the Animal Justice Party council petitions below

3) Ask brands to commit to being a Fur Free Retailer.

Fur Free Retailer is a global initiative in ethical fashion. They provide a comprehensive list of brands that have committed to being fur free. Check if your favourite brand is on the list. If not, you can write to them and ask them to join the movement.

Covid-19 Ravaging Through Fur Farms in Europe and the US

The spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, continues to escalate within mink farming in Europe and the US. The already greatly suffering mink are dying in the thousands16Science Alert, https://www.sciencealert.com/coronavirus-is-killing-off-minks-in-their-thousands. – animals who are not culled are left untreated and die from severe respiratory distress due to Covid-1917Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, https://www.hsvma.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1179:fur_riskofdisease&catid=19:default. . Fur farms present similar dangers to wet markets for disease emergence and spread, both for Covid-19 and possible future zoonosis which could also result in a pandemic18Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, https://www.hsvma.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1179:fur_riskofdisease&catid=19:default. . Given the global consequences we are battling, precaution should be exercised, and fur farming should be brought to an end.

Italy and Greece:

Italy19CNBC,https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/13/covid-dr-fauci-says-it-appears-outbreak-in-minks-wont-be-a-problem-for-vaccines.html. / and Greece20New York Times,https://www.nytimes.com/article/mink-coronavirus-mutation.html/ are the latest countries who have started reporting outbreaks on farms. The infection shows no sign of stopping, as it continues to spread to new farms in fur producing regions.


Sweden has also recently started reporting Covid-19 outbreaks on farms, currently 10 in total21The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/09/denmark-drops-plans-for-mass-mink-cull-after-covid-mutation-fears/.


At least 1.5 million mink have been culled, which represents about 30% of the industry in the Netherlands and the situation is still escalating22Dutch News, https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/08/coroanvirus-found-on-more-mink-farms-pressure-mounts-on-minister-to-close-them-all/. In June Dutch MPs voted on a ban to phase out farms ahead of the original 2024 deadline23Dutch Government, https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/08/31/nieuwe-besmetting-covid-19-bij-nertsenbedrijf. The government has now officially announced plans to shut down fur farming ahead of schedule24Dutch Government, https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/08/31/nieuwe-besmetting-covid-19-bij-nertsenbedrijf.


Covid-19 has begun spreading in Spain, with almost 100,000 mink culled25Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/scientists-study-coronavirus-outbreaks-among-minks-in-europe/2020/08/02/1cbe001c-d48e-11ea-826b-cc394d824e35_story.html. Mink farming is already restricted26Spanish Government https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2007-21490; https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-2011-19398 due to the mink exploited for farming being an introduced species and threatening native species.


In Denmark Covid-19 was detected in June27USDA, https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/denmark-government-cull-mink-covid-19-infected-farm-north-jutland and spread to a multitude of farms. Denmark is the biggest producer of mink fur, slaughtering about 19 million animals for fur each year28Danish Agriculture Department, https://agricultureandfood.dk/danish-agriculture-and-food/mink-and-fur. 17 million have now been culled due to infection and fears of the spread of Covid-1929NBC, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/animal-news/here-s-why-denmark-culled-17-million-minks-now-plans-n1249610. .

While the largest fur auction house in the world, Kopenhagen Fur, has recently announced that it will close over the next 2-3 years.

The United States:

Covid-19 has begun spreading in mink farms in the US, beginning in Utah30USDA, https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/sa-2020/sa-08/sare-cov-2-mink. Utah is the second largest producer of mink fur in the US31USDA, https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/2227mp65f. Michigan32Department of Agriculture Michigan, https://www.michigan.gov/mdard/0,4610,7-125–541996–,00.html and Wisconsin33Department of Agriculture Wisconsin, https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/TaylorCountyMinkTestPositiveCoronavirus.aspx have also started reporting outbreaks, the latter being the largest fur producing state34USDA, https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/2227mp65f.


We could also see Covid-19 emerge within the fur industry in China which is the second biggest producer of mink35ACTAsia, China’s fur trade and its position in the global fur industry report July 2019). . China is also potentially the largest fur farming region overall36ACTAsia, China’s fur trade and its position in the global fur industry report July 2019). .
Recent research has revealed that raccoon dogs, about 15 million are killed for fur each year primarily in China37ACTAsia, China’s fur trade and its position in the global fur industry report July 2019), can become infected and transmit the virus. But unlike mink, raccoon dogs show little to no symptoms, so infection can spread almost entirely undetected38Nature, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00502-w. .

There is no place for the cruel fur industry in a modern, compassionate society. Together we will see the end of the cruelty it inflicts upon millions of animals. #BanFur