On 11th April 2024, the Constitutional Court (ST) of the Baltic state of Latvia ruled that the ban on fur farming adopted in 2022 is lawful and constitutional. Therefore, from the 1st of January 2028, it will be illegal to rear and keep animals if the sole or principal purpose of breeding or keeping is the production of fur. Fur companies that bred minks and foxes had appealed to the ST claiming that their rights had been restricted, but they have now lost their case. 

The ST said that protecting animals as sentient beings from unnecessary suffering is a value of a democratic society and that modern society has an ethical and moral duty to ensure the welfare and protection of animals. The ST concluded that the right to property of the people running the Latvian fur industry had indeed been restricted, but this was lawful because this restriction was intended to protect the morals of society, the welfare of society, as well as the rights of others. The ST emphasised that the public interest in the moral and ethically correct treatment of animals is more significant than the rights and interests of individual traders.

On 22nd September 2022, Latvia became 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 disease too). Over the previous 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. At that time, at least 300,000 minks, as well as several hundred foxes and chinchillas, were killed for fur in Latvia annually.

When the ban was passed, 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 Fur farming is outdated.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.”

“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’.