Dutch reversal of fur ban is a win for human rights
22 May 2014Fur farming
In a surprisingly clear and quick verdict a Dutch national court in The Hague yesterday overturned the ban that would have put an end to mink farming in The Netherlands in 2024. The ban was passed by the Dutch Senate in December 2012, but with reference to the European Human Rights Convention the court declared the fur ban unconstitutional.
The fur ban was based in the argument that fur is "an unnecessary luxury product" but did not offer the Dutch fur farmers any compensation for the ban taking away their livelihood. This is contrary to the European Human Rights Convention.
"The European fur industry is very pleased to learn that human rights, after all, are more important than coincidental political winds on such an individual matter as 'morality'. The production and use of fur should be the subject of the individual's freedom of choice rather than the subject of legislation violating the basic rights of human beings. There are no reasonable arguments to destroy an entirely well-functioning industry that demonstrates high animal welfare standards and generates large export incomes," says Kenneth Ingman, Chairman of Fur Europe, an umbrella organisation for the European fur industry.
Naturally, also the Dutch fur farmers received the court verdict with joy.
"We have always believed we had a strong case, and we are pleased to see that an independent court quickly and clearly have stated that the law banning mink farming was completely wrong. It is a big relief for Dutch fur farmers who has regained their livelihood and can now return to a normal day to day family life," Wim Verhagen, Manging Director of the Dutch Fur Breeders´ Association, says.
The verdict is expected to have an international impact since fur bans are being discussed in a number of countries.
"The message from The Netherlands is clearly that those few politicians in Europe who want to ban fur need to think twice. I hope the message from the Dutch court will convince them that instead of banning an industry that performs incredibly well on both animal welfare standards and export income, they should help further developing the industry," says Kenneth Ingman, Chairman of Fur Europe.
The Netherlands is the world's third largest mink producing country with an annual production of 5 million skins. A calculation from audit company KPMG estimates the compensation for shutting down Dutch mink farming amounts to 1,2 billion euro.