On 3rd December 2023, over 50 animal rights activists staged a publicity stunt naked protest in Barcelona’s Plaza Catalunya, opposite the big store El Corte Ingles, against the fur industry and the fact that Spain still allows fur farms. The naked activists were spattered with artificial blood, lying on top of one another as the discarded bodies of animals stripped for their fur, symbolising the suffering of animals used in the cruel fur industry.
This protest was part of a campaign supporting the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) #FurFreeEurope, which has already gathered over 1.5 million signatures and is a call for a Europe-wide fur farm ban. In the EU, 20 member states have already implemented full or partial bans on fur farming, for either animal welfare or public health concerns (such as the risk of pandemics). The UK, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany and Holland have banned or tightened regulations on fur farming, but Spain has not done so.
Cristina Ibañez, Barcelona coordinator of the international animal rights organisation AnimaNaturalis, said, “Wearing animal skins is not only inefficient and anachronistic but intensely cruel to animals. Mink, ferrets, foxes, rabbits, seals, otters, cows, chinchillas, and in China even dogs and cats, are part of the large group of animals killed to turn their skins into clothing or fashion accessories.”
In January 2023, AnimaNaturalis, which was founded in Spain, made public the footage it obtained investigating five mink farms located in the Spanish autonomic regions of Galicia and Castilla y León. The footage, recorded in the winters of 2020 and 2021, showed animals kept under unhygienic conditions, performing stereotypic behaviour (a sign of difficulties in coping with captivity). Every year, about 750,000 animals are raised in Spain in 32 fur farms. In 2021, 26 of with were exploiting American mink, while the rest were mainly rabbits and chinchillas.