Jenny Donath reports on the consequences of fur farming within the fashion industry and why Italy has decided to ban the practice altogether.
Photo by Gerardo Marrufo
In December 2021, the Italian Senate Budget Committee decided to completely ban fur farming, making Italy the 16th European country to abolish the practice. Furthermore, all remaining farms that breed foxes, racoons, chinchillas, and especially minks, must be closed within the next half year before 30 June 2022.
Until now, over 60,000 minks were killed per year on Italian farms before the amendment became effective on 01 January 2022. The amendment covers the ban of breeding fur-bearing animals, the shutdown of all remaining active fur farms, and the compensation of all farmers for their financial losses due to the law change, with funds as high as three million euros. According to the amendment:
“[T]he breeding, breeding in captivity, capturing and killing of minks (Mustela vison or Neovison vison), foxes (Vulpes vulpes, Vulpes Lagopus or Alopex Lagopus), raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) are prohibited, of chinchillas (Chinchilla laniger) and animals of any species for the purpose of obtaining fur” - Just Style
The Consequences of Fur Farming
The decision of the Italian Senate Budget Committee to amend the budget law rounded up the year well, following several Covid-19 outbreaks in fur farms due to lack of health and safety measures.
PETA, who has repeatedly raised awareness of the poor treatment of minks on fur farms, released evidence showing minks turning to self-mutilation or cannibalism as a result. Shoved into tiny cages, they have no possibility to pursue their natural activities like roaming and swimming. If they don’t die because of stress, their short life is ended by using gas: a cruel method, as minks are semi-aquatic and can hold their breath for a long period of time.
PETA’s active engagement across social media platforms and collaborations with Italian celebrities, such as model Elisabetta Canalis, have contributed to the Italian Government’s increased awareness of this issue. The demand for fur has been in decline for a long time and keeps decreasing. Fashion companies, such as Gucci, Versace, or Valentino, have already stopped using fur. Even ELLE Magazine has announced that they never want to work with fur-using companies again, nor promote such firms or products ever again. Mimi Bekhechi, vice president of international relations at PETA, has said:
“Grazie mille to the Italian Senate for recognising that fur belongs to the animals who were born with it and ushering in a new era – one in which minks will no longer be caged, tortured, and gassed in the name of fashion. […] It’s clear that the industry is truly dead and gone” - Mimi Bekhechi, Just Style
A Step Forward for Animal Rights
This decision was also recommended by the Humane Society International/Europe (HSI), considering the cruel animal treatment that was once standard on fur farms has now been condemned. Organisations like Animal Law Italy, Animal Equality, LAV, and Essere Animali also supported the passing of the new law. President and CEO of HSI, Kitty Block, said in a statement:
“We couldn’t be happier about this news […] 2021 was a monumental time for our fur-free campaign. […] We were there every step of the way to celebrate these victories and shine a continuous light on the millions of animals still suffering and dying for the frivolous fur trade. Ending the fur trade for good is one of our top priorities, and we won’t stop until every cage and trap is empty” - Kitty Block, The Humane Society of the United States
Moreover, a significant regulation was published at the end of January 2022. The regulation determined the future whereabouts of the remaining minks, meaning that possible relocation to shelters managed by recognised animal rights associations is now in progress. The banning of fur farming in Italy is certainly a massive step forward for animal rights activism, ensuring a quality of life for all animals across the globe that have been neglected and endangered by the fashion industry.
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