Bont voor Dieren (Fur for Animals) is a Dutch animal protection organization dedicated to the rights and protection of all fur-bearing animals.
Bont voor Dieren campaigns against the production and use of fur by raising public awareness on issues such as animal cruelty and welfare, fur farming, trapping, sealing, dog and cat fur, karakul lambs and fur in fashion. We do so using entirely legal and non-violent means.
Bont voor Dieren achieves its goals through political lobby at a local, national and European level, by persuading fashion designers and retailers to not include fur in their collections, through education and, of course, maintaining a high media profile.
Bont voor Dieren is also active on an international level. We offer our support and information to organizations in other countries were fur is still widely worn. Our motto is ‘When you stop buying, the animals stop dying’. In other words, if fur is no longer traded anywhere in the world, the suffering of all fur-bearing animals at human hands will come to an end. Bont voor Dieren is also an active member of the Fur Free Alliance, a worldwide coalition that campaigns against the fur trade on behalf of all fur bearing animals on an international scale.
Although Bont voor Dieren has been highly successful in raising public awareness about the cruelties involved in fur production and has achieved a national ban on fox and chinchilla farming, much work still needs to be done to put an end to the suffering of fur-bearing animals on a national as well as an international level.
The Dutch situation
In the Netherlands, bans on fox and chinchilla farming were passed in 1995 and 1997 respectively. The phasing-out of these forms of fur production began in April 1998. By 1st April 2008, all fox and chinchilla farms in the Netherlands have finally ceased their operations.
Unfortunately, the Netherlands are the third biggest producer of mink fur in the world: nearly 5 million mink are gassed each year. Only Denmark and China have a bigger mink fur industry.
However, this recently changed. After years of lobbying we established a fur ban in the Netherlands. Mink farming in the Netherlands will be completely phased out in 2024.
As a result of intensive hunting practices, many fur-bearing species became rare and some were even almost driven to extinction during the 19th century. The solution to this problem was to start keeping and breeding these animals in captivity. People thus began to breed foxes, mink, raccoons and chinchillas in the confinement of cages. These farming methods for producing fur are currently being employed on a large-scale, particularly in the Scandinavian countries, Russia, Canada, the United States and the Netherlands.
Fur production and animal welfare
Mink and foxes are still essentially wild animals, which will never become accustomed to living in cages on fur farms. In captivity, they are unable to display their natural behaviour. They cannot hunt for prey, they dig holes nor can they run, swim or flee. These animals are forced to live in confinement for their entire lives. This leads to serious problems with stress and boredom, which seriously compromise animal welfare. In short, fur farming is an exceedingly cruel form of farming.
In December 2001, the European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare published a report on the welfare of animals kept for fur production. This report examines the conditions under which mink, ferrets, foxes, raccoon dogs, coypus and chinchillas are kept. The European Scientific Committee’s findings support the argument that these species are unsuitable for life in captivity. Moreover, it is also highly critical of current animal husbandry systems used within the fur farming industry. The report states that they cause ‘serious problems for all species of animals reared for fur’. It identified major shortcomings with respect to cages, management methods, the training of farmers and people responsible for breeding programs, handling practices and the use of objects to stimulate normal behaviour.
The major reason for concern about the farming of fur-bearing animals is the question of whether the species involved can be kept in conditions, which are compatible with their behavioural and physical needs. Apparently this is not the case. The report concludes that ‘the animals species used for fur production cannot generally be considered as domesticated, as opposed to other farm animals’. The animals concerned do not come from species that have been long domesticated, and these farmed species largely retain the characteristics of wild animals. Given the findings of this report, Bont voor Dieren is convinced that the only conclusion is that these cruel and unnecessary farming practices should all be phased out. Please download the report here.
Curtain falling in Europe
There are no longer any fur farms in Austria. There is a total ban on fur farming in six of the nine Austrian federal states and in the remaining three there are such strict welfare regulations, in relation to the availability of swimming water, that fur farming is no longer economically viable. In Switzerland also, animal welfare legislation ensures that fur-bearing animals cannot be kept under intensive farming conditions. In 2005, the Swedish government announced that they were planning to make similar legislative changes to protect the welfare of mink by stipulating that they must have access to swimming water. The German government is also currently working on such legislation, although fur farming has already been banned in the federal states of Bavaria, Hessen, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Schleswig-Holstein. In the United Kingdom, a bill to prohibit fur farming in England and Wales was passed in the House of Commons on 22nd November 2000. Fur farming has thus been banned in the whole of the UK since 1st January 2003.
Bont voor Dieren
PO Box 92044
1090 AA Amsterdam
Telephone (0031)(0) 20 676 66 00
Chamber of commerce: 41002701