With 6 million mink killed each year, the Netherlands is the world’s third largest producer of mink pelts, after Denmark and China. The political discussion about a ban on mink fur farming began in 1999. A bill to ban it by 2018 was accepted by the House of Representatives, but did not get a majority in the Senate. The main argument against the ban was the financial problems it would cause to farmers. Therefore the original bill was changed to go into force in 2024 and provides financial compensation for the demolition costs of 28 million euro for farmers.
Four Paws Netherlands and Fur for Animals hope that other countries will follow the example that Austria, The United Kingdom and Croatia have set. “If the Netherlands can ban a mink fur farming industry of 6 million mink per year and 159 mink fur farmers, for ethical reasons, there is no reason for other countries to continue with this form of animal cruelty”, says Thomas Pietsch, expert on wild animals for Four Paws.
Nicole van Gemert, director of Fur For Animals, is happy that after a political process of 23 years, the politicians were able to listen to the majority of the population of the Netherlands: “An inquiry by the Ministry of Agriculture showed earlier this year that only 7% of the Dutch approved of killing animals only for their fur. It’s a logical step to ban mink farming after the ban on dog, cat and seal fur.”
In 1995 and 1998 respectively bans were announced on fox and chinchilla fur farming, which both came into force on 1 April 2008. The ban on mink fur farming will end all fur farming in the Netherlands.
Joh Vinding, chair of the Fur Free Alliance visited the Netherlands when the final debate in the Senate took place: “The Fur Free Alliance has shown that working together and sharing expertise and ideas will bring all of us further towards a fur free world. We’ve watched the Netherlands for the last decade and are all of us able to spread the fur farm ban to other countries.“
All photographs courtesty of Jo-Anne McArthur