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December 21 2021 saw the Italian Budget Senate Committee approve a permanent ban on fur farming. 10 mink farms currently operate in Italy. Each will be closed within six months. The news comes after extensive campaigning for the Human Society’s International (HSI) and European branches.
Alongside the closing of farms, the breeding of fur-bearing animals is immediately outlawed. This includes mink, foxes, chinchillas, and raccoons. June 30 2022 is the deadline for the ceasing of all fur farming activities. Local economies were considered during campaigns. Viable business models for converted fur farms were researched and presented.
Support not scapegoating
The Italy-wide ban on fur farming represents a milestone victory for animal rights. It comes after numerous big names in fashion have pledged to stop using or promoting the material. Italian farmers will not be left without an income, though; the Ministry of Agriculture has set aside funding to support their transition to another venture. €3 million is available for farmers who will need to retrain or invest in new equipment for their livelihoods.
Official approval of the ban is anticipated before year-end. It will mark Italy as the 16th country in Europe to turn its back on fur farming.
“In thirty years of animal rights battle this is the best victory. Finally, a parliamentary vote sanctions the end of unspeakable suffering inflicted on animals only in the name of profit and vanity … better late than never,” said Hon. Michela Vittoria Brambilla, president of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Animal Rights and of the Italian League for the Defense of Animals and the Environment, in a statement. “Now we await the final approval of the budget law, but the political will has been clearly expressed. A dream comes true that animal protection associations have cultivated for decades in our country … It is a great achievement, which finally all those who love and respect animals rejoice!”
News of the ban has positive health implications. Fur farms have been directly linked to multiple Covid-19 outbreaks. 465 mink farms have been positively identified, across 12 countries. Italy was one of them and was widely reported to struggle under the weight of the pandemic.
“There are very clear economic, environmental, public health and of course animal welfare reasons to close and ban fur farms,” Martina Pluda, HSI director, Italy said in a statement. “[This] vote recognizes that allowing the mass breeding of wild animals for frivolous fur fashion represents a risk to both animals and people that can’t be justified by the limited economic benefits it offers to a small minority of people involved in this cruel industry.
This is a historic victory for animal protection in Italy, and HSI/Europe is immensely proud that our fur farm conversion strategy has played a central role in dismantling this cruel and dangerous industry in our country,” she concluded.
A growing movement
Italy joins the ranks of Armani, Prada, Valentino, and Versace, all of who have dropped fur from their lines. Gucci will also ditch it as part of the Kering group pledge to turn its back on the use of animal fur.
Most recently, fashion magazine Elle pledged to implement a global ban on fur promotion in all of its titles. It is sold throughout the world, including China, widely understood to play home to the biggest fur industry on the planet. Elle is the first consumer high fashion magazine to make such a promise. It currently has 21 million readers.
All images courtesy of Unsplash.