Animal rights activists celebrate as bill banning fur farming passes through Senate

Photo: Esalota via, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Animal rights activists have reason to celebrate. After years of controversy, both houses of the Czech Parliament have approved a ban on fur farms that should take effect in January 2019. According to the bill, which was approved by the Senate on Thursday, the owners of fur farms will be able to claim compensation from the state. Opinion polls suggest that over 80 percent of Czechs support the move. I called animal rights activist Lucie Moravcová from the NGO Freedom for Animals to get her reaction to the news.

Lucie Moravcová,  photo: archive of Freedom for Animals
“We are very happy about it, of course, and we have a big reason to celebrate. This law will save 20,000 innocent animals per year from cruel deaths and very poor living conditions on fur farms. We think that this industry does not belong in civilized society and we are very grateful to our legislators that they understood what was at stake and supported this bill. We consider this a historic success in animal protection in the Czech Republic and we are very happy that our country will join other European states which have already banned this cruel practice.”

Twelve other European states, I believe, is that correct?

“Well, there are eight European states which have banned fur farms directly –for instance Great Britain, Croatia or Austria – and then there are countries which have banned the practice indirectly, meaning that they introduced such strict criteria for fur farming that led fur farms to close down because they were not able to meet such strict norms –this concerns Switzerland or Germany.”

How many fur farms will this ban concern here in the Czech Republic?

“It concerns nine fur farms where mostly mink and foxes are bred. These animals are bred in very bad conditions. We have to keep in mind that these animals are basically wild animals with their own specific needs. So for example the mink is a semi-aquatic animal that needs to swim and this is impossible to realize on a fur farm where the animals are bred in tiny wire cages. This causes enormous frustration and various psychological dysfunctions in these animals.”

Photo: Esalota via,  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Opponents of the ban warn that this could lead to illegal farms being created where the state would have no oversight at all over the animals’ welfare. What do you say to that argument?

“I would argue that this has never happened in the countries which banned fur farming. For instance Great Britain issued a ban in the year 2,000 and illegal fur farms did not appear. It is also important to realize that it is impossible to hide a fur farm with hundreds or thousands of animals. Firstly, you need a big space and secondly the animals smell, so it is really not possible to hide such a farm.”