Estonia just became the first Baltic state to ban fur farming.
The Riigikogu (Estonia’s parliament) passed amendments to the existing Animal Protection Act and Nature Conservation Act on Wednesday.
The act will now prohibit the breeding and keeping of animals solely or primarily for the purpose of fur farming, thereby excepting sheep and rabbit breeders. According to ERR News, 56 MPs voted in favor and 19 voted against the amendments.
“It’s a great day for the thousands of animals who will be saved from a life of suffering thanks to Estonia passing this law,” said Connor Jackson, CEO of Open Cages, in a statement sent to LIVEKINDLY.
According to a 2020 survey carried out by data and business insight company Kantar Emor, 75 percent of those living in Estonia are opposed to fur farming.
Why Has Estonia Banned Fur Farming?
According to the Fur Free Alliance, current European fur farming practices are incompatible with even the most basic animal welfare standards, as well as EU law. Animals typically live in cramped, oppressive conditions and often experience both injury and disease.
Within the context of increasing global environmental efforts, the enormous negative impact of factory fur farms is both unnecessary and incongruous. The industry as a whole creates pollution, reduces biodiversity, and emits greenhouse gases.
Estonia has been discussing a potential ban since 2009, and the overall number of fur farms has significantly decreased since then. Today, the number of animals farmed has fallen from around 200,000 to just under 1,000, as per data from Open Cages.
At the beginning of 2021, the largest fur farm in Estonia (with a peak occupancy of 170,000 animals) announced that it is now empty. The government will issue no new permits for keeping mink and raccoon dogs after July 1, 2021, and will completely prohibit this style of fur farming after January 1, 2026.
The new amendments make Estonia the 14th European nation to ban fur farming. This includes the UK, which has prohibited fur farming for over 20 years but is no longer a member of the EU.