Brussels, 2nd March 2023. With a record number of signatures collected, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Fur Free Europe closes two months earlier than officially planned. In less than ten months, more than 1.7 million citizens across the EU have signed the petition.
The Initiative aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on keeping and killing of animals for the sole purpose of fur production, as well as placing farmed animal fur products on the EU market.
The ECI is set to become only the seventh successful Initiative since the first ECI was tabled in 2012.
As of last night, the ECI closed its signature collection and now a three-month validation process begins. Once the signatures have been validated, the European Commission has 6 months to formulate and deliver a response that will address citizens’ demands for a Fur Free Europe.
Tilly Metz MEP, President of the European Parliament's Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, said, "I know that most citizens, if shown the reality of cruel animal farming practices such as fur farming, would want much more progressive EU animal welfare legislation than the one we have today. Through joint efforts and effective mobilisation, this ECI Fur Free has proven this, with an impressive number of signatures."
Joe Moran, Director of European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS, said, “We are extremely thankful to all the citizens and collaborating organisations who made this happen.
“Now that EU citizens have spoken, we turn to the European Commission to finally prohibit fur farming and the placement of fur products in the European market. The upcoming animal welfare legislative proposals are the perfect opportunity to implement a legal ban.
Thomas Pietsch, FOUR PAWS´ Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles said, “FOUR PAWS is an organisation whose founding mission 35 years ago was to see the end of fur farming in Austria, so an effective EU-wide ban on fur farming and sales would represent a very special victory for our organisation.”
Since the launch of the ECI in May 2022, FOUR PAWS has released several investigations in fur farms in Poland and Romania and has been campaigning alongside 80+ NGOs around Europe to inform citizens on the cruel reality of this outdated industry.
The ECI Fur Free Europe was officially registered by the European Commission on 16/03/2022 and ran from 18/05/2022 until 01/03/2023. The ECI was submitted by a group of citizens from 7 EU Member States. It aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on the keeping and killing of animals for the sole or main purpose of fur production, as well as placing farmed animal fur, and products containing such fur, on the EU market.
The European Union is one of the main regions for fur production globally. Every year millions of animals (mainly mink, foxes and raccoon dogs) are legally confined in small wire mesh cages and killed to produce unnecessary, easily replaceable fur articles. The mission is to end this cruel practice by introducing an EU-wide prohibition of fur farming.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org