For years, the battle to shut down the fur industry in The Netherlands waged on. A law was passed in 2012 to shutter the nation’s fur farms, which slaughter 6 million minks per year to make fur coats and other high-priced garments. But the fur industry fought back – and initially won. A lower court overturned the ban in 2014, citing the ‘serious financial impact’ the law would have on fur breeders. But the minks declared victory on Tuesday, when the appeals court ruled that the ban would go on and the country’s 160 fur farms would be close down.
“With this decision, the Netherlands has unwaveringly proclaimed that the welfare and lives of six million mink is more important than the economic interests of fur farmers and mink breeders profiting from the cruel exploitation of these animals,” said Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA.
The Netherlands is the world’s third-largest mink producer right now – and because the ban doesn’t kick in until 2024, it will be nearly a decade before the Dutch minks are free. It’s already illegal to farm foxes and chinchillas for fur in The Netherlands, thanks to laws passed in the 90s, so at least this ruling means that, eventually, all of the country’s animals will be spared from fur farm cruelty.
Mink coats may feel soft, but the torture involved is as undeniable as it is unnecessary. Minks are curious, intelligent animals who swim and roam up to 4 kilometers in the wild. On fur farms, they spend their lives in wire cages not much longer than your arm, and exhibit self-mutilation and other signs of mental illness before they’re slaughtered and skinned.
The United States is lagging behind, with no legislation barring fur farms. China, a major source of fur products around the world, doesn’t even have a single animal cruelty law. Thankfully some other European nations are seeing the light, with fur farms banned in the UK, Croatia and Austria.