Italy Votes to Ban Fur Farming and Shut Down Mink Farms

Mink look out from their cage at a farm.

Mink look out from their cage at a farm in Denmark on Nov. 6, 2020. MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP via Getty Images

The Italian Senate has voted to approve an amendment to the budget law that will close the remaining ten mink farms in Italy within six months and ban fur farming throughout the country.

The decision came about after talks with Humane Society International/Europe, which offered practical strategies in its report Mink breeding in Italy: Mapping and future perspectives for closing fur farms and converting them into businesses that are humane and sustainable. Following approval of the resolution by Parliament, Italy will become the 16th European country to ban fur farming.

“There are very clear economic, environmental, public health and of course animal welfare reasons to close and ban fur farms,” said the director of Humane Society International in Italy, Martina Pluda, Humane Society International reported. “Today’s 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.”

The amendment requires all active fur farms in Italy be closed by June 30, 2022. It also includes an immediate ban on the breeding of mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas, according to Humane Society International. To help ease the transition, fur farmers will be compensated €3 million by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2022, reported VegNews.

Fur has been falling out of favor in the fashion world, with major brands like GUCCI, Prada, Valentino and Versace banning the use of fur in their collections, and large retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s no longer selling it.

“With so many designers, retailers, and consumers going fur-free, conversion of fur farms offers people a sustainable future that the fur trade simply cannot provide,” Pluda said, VegNews reported.

Fur farming also presents COVID-19 risks, as many mink farms in Europe discovered the presence of the virus early in the pandemic. COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported at 465 mink fur farms in 12 countries, including Italy, the U.S. and Canada.

“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,” remarked Hon. Michela Vittoria Brambilla, president of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Animal Rights in Italy, according to the Greek Reporter.

“It is a great achievement, which finally all those who love and respect animals rejoice!” Brambilla added, as Humane Society International reported.

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