All mink farms must now be welfare certified

15 December 2016Animal welfare

Emneord WelFur

Mink kigger

The European fur trade has proposed a new milestone. WelFur certification of all European fur farms will start in 2017. As of 2020, Kopenhagen Fur will only sell mink skins and fox skins that are WelFur certified.

 

According to the ambitious plan, all 4,000 European fur farms must be certified by WelFur by the end of 2020. Beginning December 2018, customers will be able to buy WelFur certified mink and fox skins at the auction houses. From 2020, they will only be able to purchase WelFur certified mink and fox skins.

With this historical step, the European fur trade is addressing demands from both the fashion industry and consumers - for transparency and documentation regarding animal welfare in fur production.

FurEurope is the trade organisation behind the programme, supported by John Papsø, Chairman of the WelFur steering committee. In Papsø's opinion:

- It is the culmination of extensive and uncompromising work to make an independent, research-based welfare certification. We are increasingly met with demands from customers and consumers to be able to document good animal welfare with certification and traceability. We can do this with WelFur, the ideal independent, research-based standard.

Scientifically substantiated welfare

WelFur is based on EU standards with scientifically substantiated animal welfare indicators. Certification has been underway since 2009, when FurEurope began the process. Since then, scientists from seven different European universities have spearheaded the collection of all existing scientific knowledge about what is important to mink welfare and wellbeing. Based on this, they developed the protocols which constitute the measuring system.

For Jesper Uggerhøj, CEO of Kopenhagen Fur, ensuring the utmost in animal welfare is not enough.

- Fundamentally, it is important to Kopenhagen Fur and mink farmers that animal welfare is top notch. But that is not enough in itself. We need to document this to the world and to those who might believe otherwise. Therefore, what is essential about the WelFur programme is that it is research based and independent. It is the first tool within agriculture that, based on research, can document and certify that animal welfare is properly enforced on the farms.

From 2020 only certified skins will be sold

The project's starting point is Europe. Therefore, in order for a fur farm to be included, it must comply with the minimum requirements in the European Council recommendation. If this is not the case, as of 2020 a farm cannot be certified and will be excluded from selling via the auction houses. Compliance with the recommendation and proper farm management will be prerequisites for gaining access to the most important fur trade platforms in the world.

- The project encompasses 4,000 European mink and fox farms, explains Uggerhøj.

- This is a united European fur trade behind the initiative, which we see as absolutely essential for the trade's most ambitious project to date is to succeed. We cannot stand alone with this kind of certification. After 2020, it is also our aim that the auction houses will only sell skins from European farms that are WelFur certified - an ambitious and brave decision. From December 2018, the first certified skins will be sold in the auction houses. Once we have begun this process, it is my expectation that we will actually experience an increase in demand. WelFur certification should give an added value for our customers as well as consumers. Furthermore, WelFur also helps ensure the future of the trade. It is a vital part of a future sustainable production of skins in Europe.

 

Facts about WelFur

  • - The fur trade took the initiative to implement scientific expertise and develop measuring methods as a tool to document the animal welfare of fur animals.  
  • - WelFur gives a nuanced and accurate picture of animals' health and welfare on the farm.
  • - Measurements and assessments will be made on points where any possible improvements will benefit both mink and farmers.
  • - WelFur's measuring methods for mink have been developed by seven universities in Europe.
  • - A good WelFur score gives a farmer a solid foundation to document a high level of animal welfare on his farm.