On 22nd September 2022, the Latvian Parliament passed a vote for a complete ban on the breeding of animals for fur, which will enter into force in 2028. Latvia becomes the 15th European Union country to ban fur farming, and many such bans happened since the Covid pandemic started (as there is evidence that minks can get the diseases too).
Over the last 10 years, the animal rights association Dzīvnieku brīvība campaigned for the ban on fur farming, backed by 42,000 people and 50 non-governmental organizations. Currently, at least 300,000 mink, as well as several hundred foxes and chinchillas, are killed for fur in Latvia every year. The number of fur farms operating in Latvia has decreased in recent years. The total number of animals in Latvian fur farms in 2017 was 617,000, in 2020 was 580,000, and in 2022 was 274,000. Still far too many, but this steady decline suggests that the industry may give up altogether before the ban comes into effect in six years.
Thomas Pietsch, Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles at FOUR PAWS, said, “What we are witnessing across Europe is an unrelenting tide in favour of banning fur farms. This is a moment in time and Latvia, having become the 15th EU member state to legislate for the ban, will not be the last. We fully welcome the decision. Fur farming is outdated. It is needless, inherently cruel, and it is a health risk to the public, as we have seen over the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Across the EU, there is currently a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) which aims to achieve an EU-wide ban on keeping and killing of animals for the sole or main purpose of fur production, as well as placing farmed animal fur, and products containing such fur, on the EU market. It will run until 18/05/2023.