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Belgium has ended all fur farming ahead of its scheduled deadline end of 2023, as reports suggest all remaining fur farms in the Dutch-speaking Flanders have already been closed. There were no fur farms in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, but there were still 17 in Flanders. 

The autonomous country of Flanders was the last remaining part of Belgium that still had fur farms, but in 2018 the Flemish government approved the phasing down of the industry. However, this process seems to have been accelerated and ended one year ahead of schedule — which will spare months of torture to thousands of animals, and no further minks will be born in captivity. 

In 2017, the actress Pamela Anderson had written on behalf of PETA and GAIA to the then minister Ben Weyts stating the following: “Every day that such legislation is delayed is a day of misery for the more than 200,000 minks on fur farms in Flanders. These wild animals are kept in cramped wire cages that deny them any opportunity to carry out their natural behaviour, such as running and swimming. This confinement causes them such intense psychological distress that many go insane and begin to mutilate themselves. After a lifetime of suffering, confinement, and frustration, they’re killed for a frivolous fashion accessory that no one needs — and increasingly, no one wants.” Either this sense of urgency was taken on board by the authorities, or the industry realised that there is no point in dragging the phasing out, but the early closure of the mink farms is undoubtedly good news. 

The Netherlands, the neighbouring country with linguistic ties with Flanders, had already permanently ended mink farming in 2021, three years ahead of their schedule. That year,  Estonia also approved a phasing down of the fur farming industry by 2026, but perhaps they now will realise it would be better to accelerate the process. Italy is one of the other countries that is expected to end all fur farming in a few months. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.