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Dutch law will ban mink farming by 2024

Reuters/Staff –– Humane Society International-Canada is calling on the Canadian government to phase out fur farming following a decision by the Netherlands to end the practice by 2024.

“Right now, the Canadian codes of practice for minks and foxes are being reviewed, and it is clear that fur farming is causing immense suffering to animals,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI-Canada. “The Dutch Senate has recognized that it is morally wrong to confine animals in small, wire cages to be killed for their fur. HSI-Canada is calling on the Canadian government to follow the example of the Netherlands and prohibit outright the farming of animals for their fur.”

The Dutch Senate on Dec. 18 passed a ban on mink farming in the Netherlands, the world’s third-largest producer of the animal fur, in a ruling that will phase out the industry by 2024.

The bill, tabled by both the Labour Party and the Socialist Party, was passed by a majority of lawmakers in a vote of 46 to 29, according to a statement on the Senate website.

The Dutch outlawed the breeding of foxes and chinchillas for their fur in 2008. The mink ban was passed by the lower house of parliament earlier this year.

“This significant decision will prevent the suffering of millions of fur-bearing animals in the future,” Joanna Swabe, Humane Society International’s EU director, said in a statement.

“It is truly inspiring that the majority of the Dutch Senate has not allowed economics to prevail over ethics, recognizing that it is unacceptable and cruel to keep animals in small, wire cages to be killed for their fur.”

The Netherlands accounted for roughly nine per cent of the global mink market in 2011, Kopenhagen Fur Auctions said, trailing leaders Denmark and China, which jointly make up slightly more than half.

Around 200 Dutch mink companies produced 4.9 million furs in 2011, compared to 15 million in Denmark and 13.5 million in China, Kopenhagen Fur Auctions said.

Dutch mink breeders will be compensated by the government for investments made in their businesses.

The global fur trade was worth about $14 billion in 2010, up from $8.2 billion in 2000, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.

Humane Society International says that in the last decade, the Dutch mink-farming industry has expanded exponentially with production growing from three million to an estimated six million mink pelts per year.

In Canada, an estimated 2.6 million minks and foxes are confined annually on fur farms.

Fur farming has also been banned across the United Kingdom on ethical grounds since 2003, and Austria and Croatia have introduced similar prohibitions.

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