This website is issued by Fur Europe with the purpose to provide reliable information and contribute to a balanced image of natural fur in Europe. We live in and work from Brussels, and we represent the whole value chain of the European fur sector including farmers, auction houses, furriers, designers, manufacturers and retailers.
We have implemented the most comprehensive animal welfare programme in the world, and continue to work with a wide range of sustainability policies. A slowfashion alternative to synthetics, natural fur is an integrated part of Europe's circular bio economy, and represents a renewable fashion material with extraordinarily long active product life.
Animal Welfare based on science
WelFur is a state of the art animal welfare assessment programme developed by independent scientists from seven universities in Europe. By 2020, more than 3.400 European mink and fox farms will be professionally certified by independent third party assessors. An associated labelling scheme will provide transparency and help consumers to buy WelFur certified fur products.Learn more
Mink is threat to COVID vaccine? Not so sure
Nov 19 2020 - Scientists are raising serious doubt over the risk assessment of Statens Serum Institute (SSI) that mink-related mutation of the coronavirus could pose a threat to a future vaccine. While the Danish government decided to cull the entire mink population, including healthy herds based on the risk assessment, researchers ponder if there is enough scientific evidence to back its conclusions. The Danish Medicines Agency announced it was not consulted before the government took its decision adding that it is "unlikely" that the mutation will have a "significant impact on the effect of the first generation of vaccines." SSI claims that the mutation found the so-called cluster-5 could, in theory, weaken efforts for a new vaccine due to a change in the spike (S) protein, which is a key target for vaccines. "There is nothing in the report that gives reason to conclude that this particular mutation may constitute a danger to a vaccine. Therefore, one cannot conclude too strongly on the significance of the cluster-5 mutation for a vaccine," said Professor Jens Lundgren, emphasising that these are only preliminary results. The Danish institute only released more details about the research late in the process, which made the international scientific community call for it to be reviewed. Some are openly questioning the validity of the claim that mink-related mutation is a hazard for the vaccine. According to Dr Anthony Fauci, United States' top infectious disease official, the issue should be taken seriously but "it doesn't look like something that's going to be a really big problem for the vaccines that are currently being used to induce an immune response". "When you look at the binding sites on the spike protein … it does not appear at this point that the mutation that has been identified in the minks is going to have an impact on vaccines and the effect of a vaccine-induced immune response," he said in a discussion broadcast by the Chatham House think-tank. In order to be a threat to the future vaccine, the new strain of the virus associated with mink farms needs to be more contagious than the current coronavirus. The Statens Serum Institute announced this is not the case. Moreover, once developed vaccines could relatively easy be modified, say scientists, to protect against several strains of the virus. "The vaccines that are under development do not only attack the small part that is mutated in mink variants. The good vaccines will make our immune system respond to many different parts of the virus, said the immunologist Mike Barnbob. The World Health Organisation also states that mutations in viruses are normal, and jumping to conclusions without further research is risky. Asked to comment on the decision of the Danish government, WHO spokesperson Dr Margaret Harris clarified that they don't think the culling was a necessary measure. She also reminded that the primary source of contamination remains human-to-human transition, and mutations need to be monitored. The European Disease and Control centre advised to increased testing amongst fur farmers, workers and animals. Both WHO and ECDC underlined that all findings are preliminary and further investigations are needed to assess the situation. The European Commission has reached out to vaccine manufacturers to evaluate the risk as some producers already confirmed that they would be able to cover Cluster-5 mutation with the vaccines.
Mink farming temporarily on halt in Denmark – but was it necessary?
Nov 18 2020 - In a scandalous turn of events, the Danish government temporarily put an end to mink farming due to concerns over public health. In the process, the order to cull the entire Danish mink herd including healthy animals was recognized as unconstitutional, a circumstance that continues to be met with massive criticism from the opposition, commentators and constitutional experts in Denmark. When the government announced the cull of all mink in Denmark on 4 November, it stressed the reason to be brand new lab tests demonstrating a potential reduced vaccine effect, due to the so-called cluster-5 mutation that amongst other can develop on a mink farm. Shortly after however, international scientists scrutinized the Danish lab test, only to return with the verdict that the Danish risk assessment on global vaccine effects was highly under-researched. Under-informed decision? Roughly speaking, the decision has divided Danish public opinion in two: those who in line with the government believe the decision to cull all animals was the right thing to do as a precautionary principle, and those who in line with the opposition parties believe the decision was scientifically under-informed and could have been handled without crumbling the Danish mink industry by eliminating all breeder animals. In particular, the government has been criticized for relying on too narrow scientific advice, leaving behind the Danish tradition of a broad collaboration between involved stakeholders– also coined The Danish Model. The Danish Veterinary Society, for example, stated that “the special insight veterinarians could have contributed to create clarification about possibilities and limitations of diagnostics in animal herds, as well as the handling of internal and external disease transmission.” The veterinary position in Denmark is that too little focus has been put on preventing infections in mink farms in the first place. Instead, the Danish mink strategy spiralled out of control, working against the government’s own commitment to save the mink industry in Denmark. Minister of Agriculture steps down Meanwhile, the illegal order to cull healthy mink will stand until mid-December. Since all Danish opposition parties refuse to provide 3/4 of the parliamentary vote needed to make the culling order constitutional, only the normal, more time consuming, the democratic process will work to make the order legal for the government. In practical terms, the delayed legislation makes no difference: The Danish mink farmers have loyally culled their mink in spite of the unconstitutional order given to them by the government. Until now the scandalous handling of ‘minkgate’ has led to the departure of the Danish agricultural minister on 18 November, but the government’s refusal to withdraw the illegal culling order rightfully raises questions over the state of democracy in Denmark. The last consequence may not have been seen yet in what commentators and politicians have coined the biggest democratic scandal in Danish history. The ban on mink farming in Denmark is temporary, and the law proposal in making works with an option for mink farmers to return to business, when the global pandemic is under control. The full potential of Danish mink farming is, however, unlikely to recover given the uncertain circumstances. To date, 284 mink farms have been infected in Denmark. They have all been culled.
No International Recommendations to Cull Healthy Mink Herds
Nov 16 2020 - International scientific bodies recommend increased biosecurity and monitoring of mink farms in the wake of Denmark’s controversial decision to cull all mink in the country. But neither the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) nor the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) advises to follow the Danish example and cull healthy mink. In a rapid risk assessment published 12 November, ECDC makes a call for increased biosecurity and monitoring of mink farms with regular testing of animals and people but said national authorities should consider culling mink from infected farms and destroying raw pelts in accordance with appropriate biosecurity measures. ECDC also concludes that "the overall level of risk to human health posed by SARS-CoV-2 mink related variants is low for the general population and no different than other SARS-CoV-2 variants." Global veterinary body OIE follows the same track in their publication of 16 November and suggests the introduction of farm biosecurity plans, that set out to prevent the transfer of disease. Farm biosecurity plans should address animal and manure movement, movement of people, safe handling of containers, and other associated materials that could serve as fomites. Detailed plans for increased monitoring, disposal of dead animals, and cleaning and disinfection should also be addressed together with protection equipment for employees. Fur Europe cooperates with ECDC on the ongoing risk assessment. CEO Mette Lykke Nielsen said international coordination of the mink issue is relevant because Covid-19 is an international pandemic. "Both OIE and ECDC stress the need for more research and knowledge, and we support the decision to get more scientific knowledge into this debate. Mink farms are only problematic to the extent they become infected in the first place. There is no scientific foundation to cull healthy animals," she said.
Sustainable Fur Forum
Fur Farming & Animal Welfare Policies: Farm to Fork Strategy Opportunities
Nov 15 2020 - As Farm to Fork strategy comes into action, animal welfare legislation becomes the next focal topic on the EU agenda. The next online event of the Sustainable Fur Forum (SFF) chained by MEP Juozas Olekas will take place on December 2 to discuss the opportunities of the Farm to Fork strategy for fur farming and animal welfare policies. The Farm to Fork Strategy adopted by the European Commission last May encompasses the upcoming revision of the existing animal welfare legislation. The push to improve and the current animal welfare laws and regulations comes into the spotlight of the EU debate as the European Commission, the Parliament and the Council are trying to find a solution that works for everyone. When it comes to consumers, communication and education are crucial for getting citizens involved in the debate. That’s why animal welfare labelling systems based on science and third-party assessments such as WelFur programme could enhance transparency and understanding about the production. What is way forward for animal welfare policies? How to ensure the wellbeing of all farmed animals across the Continent? Could the EU adopt a single, comprehensive EU Animal Welfare Framework Law? During this meeting taking place from 1 to 2:30 pm, we will seek to engage discussion on the inputs the fur sector could bring to the talks about the future of animal welfare policies, as well as the need to develop legislation in the field. We will have the chance to welcome on the online stage MEP Juozas Olekas (chair of the SFF), MEP Asger Christensen as well as Pr. Steen Henrik Møller (EURCAW poultry, rabbits, small animals), and Christian Juliusson, (DG SANTE G.5 Unit, Animal welfare, European Commission). Registrations are open until the 1st of December via this link. The connection details will be sent over to participants prior to the meeting. For further information, please contact: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Statement on the culling of all mink farms in Denmark
Nov 05 2020 - The government in Denmark has made a decision they did not want to, but public safety must come first. Now the Danish authorities must release their research for scrutiny amongst international scientists. The Danish mink production is allowed to continue in the future, but no decisions have yet been made by the mink farmers, who are still in shock over seeing their livelihood being taken away from them. The culling decisions in Denmark and the Netherlands rest on many farms being located close together, and we do not have this situation in other countries. Thus, we do not expect similar measures elsewhere. Mink farmers across Europe have had increased biosecurity since the spring, and experts and public authorities agree that mink farming plays no significant role in the spreading of Covid-19. The current health crisis is sustained by human-to-human transmission. The fundamental demand for natural fur is strong, and the market has reacted to next year’s reduced supply with higher pelt prices. The future is about the circular economy, and long-lasting, renewable products like natural fur are important alternatives to today’s ‘buy and throw away’ culture.
WelFur Extends To Finnraccoon
Nov 04 2020 - Another breakthrough in on-farm animal welfare certification as the new WelFur protocol for Finnraccoon is rolling out. The development of a fully functional on-farm assessment means that Finnraccoon farms are certified the same way as mink and fox farms. ”Finnraccoon farmers now have the same system as mink and fox farmers already have. A lot of species-specific practices for animal welfare has been developed. Finnraccoons are extremely well domesticated and feel well in a farming environment. Now we can measure the animal welfare on my farm, and follow if we can improve it every year,” said farmer Esa Rantakangas from Lappajärvi. Scientists behind the protocol spent several years to go through all existing research before they were able to develop species-specific animal welfare assessment. In 2019, the pilot phase started bringing the theoretical knowledge on the field to refine the calculations and the scoring system. The scientific validity of the protocols and the compliance with the methodology and principles of the European Commission’s Welfare Quality protocols were confirmed by the review committee, which was the final step in the development. The protocol works as a manual for the independent third-party assessors who assess fur farms. Built to evaluate and qualify animal welfare, the protocols take into an account complex calculation predominately based animal-based indicators which scientists consider as the most reliable way to measure animal welfare. Finnraccoon, also known as a raccoon dog, is farmed in Finland, and the production counted for 160.000 pelts in 2019.
Political Support to Steer Mink Farming Through Corona Crisis
Oct 29 2020 - Mink farmers in Denmark and The Netherlands have been hard hit by the global pandemic as mink have proven susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, and more than 200 mink farms in the two countries have been infected. While the Netherlands decided to compensate mink farmers, and accelerate an already existing decision to ban mink farming, there is broad political support in Denmark to help the industry through the crisis. In a meeting in the Environment and Food Committee 28 October, the Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Mogens Jensen, (the Social Democratic Party) said public health is of highest priority, but that does not mean the government are planning to close the mink production. On the contrary, the minister announced his willingness to work out forward-looking solutions in cooperation with the mink farmers, as well as other political parties. "There would be many industries we would have to close down in order to be sure there is no spread of the virus in society. The government has no plans to close mink farming," the minister said. A total of 166 mink farms have been infected by the coronavirus in Denmark since June. In late September the authorities changed their original isolation strategy to a culling strategy and decided to cull healthy farms within 7,8 kilometres of infected farms as a precautionary measure. This has led to massive criticism from both opposition parties and veterinary experts and coupled with the increasing number of infected farms. The culling strategy further led to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration not having enough manpower to cull all the animals targeted by the strategy - perhaps as many as 6 million mink. Meanwhile, some of the infected mink farms have achieved herd immunity and developed antibodies. Danish research has revealed the virus no longer live on in the mink farm environment after 5-6 weeks, and the Danish mink farmers want to avoid culling healthy animals. Fur Europe Chairman John Papsø welcomed the government support to mink farming but said the short-term culling of healthy animals is inefficient and expensive. "It is a waste of resources to cull healthy animals, which are otherwise ready to be pelted and sold in 1-2 weeks. Public health must be the priority, but we all have to remember that Covid-19 is a global pandemic upheld by the human-to-human transmission of the virus," John Papsø said. Outside the mink farmer community, only four people in Danish society have been infected by a covid-19 strain from a mink farm. Looking into the next production season, John Papsø said solutions for mink farmers are likely to involve increased biosecurity and monitoring. Sweden, Italy and Spain have each had a mink farm infected by coronavirus as well.
The Young and the Super Rich are Mainstreaming Slow Fashion
Oct 29 2020 - Everybody has clothes they wear more than others for any number of reasons. Those reasons, however, are the key to a greener environment, because if consumers wear the clothes in circulation more often, it comes at the expense of resource-intensive production of new clothes, often most made from cheap, unsustainable materials. In the slow fashion, paradigm clothes have more value for consumers, who in turn tend to care more for the products. The global consumption of fast fashion is in no way in decline at current. On the other hand, changes are clearly underway, and it can be observed in the emergence of new circular startups, public debate, media, and a mountain of upcoming legislative frameworks addressing climate change and environment across the world. It can also be observed in today’s consumer behaviour: "Vintage, secondhand is massive. There is almost a new 'arts and crafts' movement taking place. People dig up the clothes of their grandmother to wear it. There is a search for something tactile, a connection with the things people own. It is not because the interest in textiles and garments is decreasing, but we want a deeper connection to the clothes we wear. That is a paradigm shift because you don’t have a deep connection with you clothes if you swap your wardrobe every six months," Johanne Stenstrup, Danish author, podcast host and sustainable fashion activist, said. At the tipping point of mainstream During her presentation at the Sustainable Fur Forum’s event on 29 September, she talked about the emergence of circular business models and the fast-growing secondhand market. All things that point to a market, however not yet a mainstream market. So how far are we from the tipping point? "I’ll say we are just short of 10 per cent. Within trend research, they say that when 12-15 per cent of a population do something, it tips over and becomes mainstream. That’s the tipping point between being a first-mover trend to becoming mainstream. I’ll say slow fashion is very close to becoming mainstream," Johanne Stenstrup said. Part of the paradigm shift is driven by the climate striking youth, who opposes the way their parents have been buying clothes. The other key driver of sustainable fashion is the super-rich, who drive a real demand for traceability, clean raw materials, and sustainability, which is also visible in the hotel- and restaurant sectors. The greenest eco-hotels around are the luxury hotels. The most successful high-end restaurants are those who offer slow food concepts like farm-to-table, fermentation, and locally sourced ingredients. Likewise - although still lacking behind the development in the hotel- and restaurant businesses - it is the high-end luxury fashion brands who have been first to invest in sustainability within the fashion industry. "There is, of course, still demography which is in the market for bling and gold, but there is a real push for sustainability and traceability amongst the superrich. If you can buy anything in the world, you want to be sure things are in order," Johanne Stenstrup said. Re-establishing our connection with clothes The emotional value of our clothes is tied with storytelling that was somehow lost during the industrialization. The availability of cheap materials and the efficiency of the production had the consequence that repairment of our clothing slowly, but surely was replaced by the unsustainable ‘buy and throw away’ culture of today. "Capitalism and industrialization have worked to eliminate our connection to our clothing and identity since consumers have been told identity lies in the buying of something new. Now we are beginning to re-establish the connection with the textiles we surround ourselves with. Clothes with emotional value work as an anchor to who we are and are often found in homemade clothes or clothes people have owned for a long time. Our clothing is closely associated with storytelling about ourselves and our identity," Johanne Stenstrup said. However, the slow fashion paradigm is not only in the hands of trendsetting consumer groups but must be established in the interaction between consumers, manufacturers and legislators. Waste management is already high up on the political agenda, and if waste begins to come at a cost for the producers, waste management legislation is likely to push manufacturers further towards circular business models. "Companies have to look at their products more like a service. This can be a built-in repairment guarantee, or rental models, which I think is very interesting for fur- and leather products. It is business models, where you make an income on the same product several times, or provide services to the product throughout its lifetime," Johanne Stenstrup said. Circular business models Natural fur has inherent circular qualities because of the material’s strong technical characteristics, and capability for biodegradation. These are qualities the fur sector can work actively with and potentially target new consumer groups. "Fur fits well into the circular economy, but some people have a problem with the animals. It fits with circularity to take responsibility for the second and third life of a product. Some consumers skip the first life of a product and go straight to buying upcycled clothing. This is a consumer group I think will grow bigger. They still want good design, and we can tell that new design with old materials is very much in demand right now," Johanne Stenstrup said.
Future Green Label Needs to Tackle Plastic Pollution
Oct 28 2020 - Under its current form, the Environmental Footprint initiative fails to fully address one of the crucial points of the environmental impact of products - plastic pollution. The negative effect of plastic pollution on humans, animals and ecosystems is not included in the PEF calculations and will not be communicated to the consumer, fear stakeholders engaging in the initiative. The European Environmental Bureau raised the issue back in 2018, after the end of the pilot phase. Currently, to measure the environmental footprint of a product from the raw material to the end-of-life, the PEF method is testing it against 16 impact categories ranging from climate change to the use of natural resources or toxicity. No category looks into whether the product causes plastic leakage. The Product Environmental Footprint initiative will pave the way for EU-wide legislation on the environmental performance of goods and organisations. The PEF profiles should enable companies to make legitimate environmental claims based upon evidence. But boiling down complex, multi-dimensional calculations to a single score that might be put on a label could turn out misleading. For example, if an essential pollutive feature of a product like plastic pollution is not considered, the information reaching the consumer will not provide a complete picture of the environmental cost of the product. Such oversimplification risks leaving consumers under the false impression that they are choosing the 'better-for-the-environment' product without knowing that some environmental impacts they care about are not considered. Failing to address the problem with plastics pollution in its major environmental initiative would undercut the Commission’s own efforts to tackle plastic waste as promised in the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Green Deal. Measuring plastics' environmental impact is typically not part of LCA assessments, because it remains challenging to track, measure and quantify the adverse effect of plastic leakage across supply chains. This means it is unlikely that plastic pollution would become an impact category before the legislation arrives. Yet, there is a solution. Plastic pollution can be included in the PEF studies under the so-called additional environmental information. Building on this information, law-makers could request that the plastic pollution risk be stated explicitly on the label alongside the PEF score. More than 5.5 million tons of synthetic microfibers have ended up in the environment since 1950 because of clothes being washed in machines, estimates researchers from Sciences et Avenir. Microplastics are found in ecosystems everywhere on the planet, and even in products for human consumption such as beer, honey and salt. Many see the involvement of consumers to be the key in the fight for a cleaner, resource-efficient, circular economy. But serving over-simplified information to consumers led by the desire to make it easy to choose the greener products carry a risk of leading to further confusion amongst consumers – a problem meant to be tackled by this environmental initiative in the first place.
VIDEO: People Behind Fur – Meet the Dressers & Dyers
Oct 21 2020 - Taking about fur is not only talking about farming, selling or dressing. It is talking about a long chain made of people, made of passion, of experience and history. This is what makes fur special, says Roberto. He used to work in finances, but left his career to start working in a dressing and dyeing company in Italy. What made him leave a career to become a dresser of fur? Is he happy with the choices he made, and how difficult is it to work with your family? Check out the story of Roberto Tadini and get to know the people behind fur. For more stories like this head to PEOPLE BEHIND FUR