Last week, the Dutch Party for the Animals convinced the majority of the House of Representatives to vote in favor of their proposal to ban the import of fur and fur products. “It’s about time that we end the import of fur in The Netherlands”, party leader Esther Ouwehand states. “With the import of fur, The Netherlands actively participates in maintaining a cruel industry that now turns out to pose a serious danger to public health.”
In The Netherlands, raccoon dog fur is imported and sold as fur collars on winter coats on a massive scale. “They are sold at such low prices that many people do not even realize that the fur collar on their coat actually came from a real animal”, says Esther Ouwehand. “In China, raccoon dogs are treated and killed in a horrible manner. And now it also turns out that these animals might have played an essential part in the new coronavirus making the jump from animals to humans. We have to take responsibility and stop importing this horrific corona-causing fur.”
Virologists have indeed pointed out that the fur industry, and the breeding of raccoon dogs in particular, might have been the missing link in the coronavirus making the jump from animals to humans in China. The fur industry is also causing mutations in the virus that might prove resistant to the vaccines that are currently being developed. In Denmark, the biggest producer of mink fur in the world, several hundreds of people have been infected with a mutated strain of the coronavirus that originated on mink farms. All mink in the country are to be culled – numbering between 15 and 17 million. Previously, The Netherlands and Spain already suffered coronavirus outbreaks on mink farms. At the insistence of the Party for the Animals, the ban on the mink industry was accelerated because of this.
Moving towards a complete ban on fur, worldwide
More and more countries have banned their fur industry in recent years. Nevertheless, about 100 million animals are still killed for their fur each year worldwide. Not just mink, but foxes, rabbits, raccoon dogs, cats, and dogs as well. Since 2009, an import ban on dog and cat fur has been in force in the European Union, but the fur of other kinds of animals bred and killed in the Chinese fur industry can still be imported and sold.
The Party for the Animals and its sister parties keep pushing for a complete ban on the production, import, and trade of every kind of fur. Not just in The Netherlands or Europe, but in every other country in the world. The production of this so-called luxury product is unethical, environmentally unfriendly and the cause of social grievances, as explained by the founder of the Dutch Party for the Animals, Marianne Thieme, in this lecture. Now that the fur industry also turns out to be a reservoir for infectious diseases, the Party for the Animals hopes that her example will finally be followed worldwide and that all remaining fur-producing countries will end this barbaric practice.