During the past years, consumer demands for animal welfare
in modern Danish farming have increased. Quite a while
back, Kopenhagen Fur decided to take this issue to heart and set a
good example. As early as 1985, the industry prepared
guidelines for fur animal welfare - at a time, when no guidelines
existed for other livestock farming.
In 1999, Danish and international research formed the
basis of a European set of rules to protect fur animals.
Since then, new Danish research results have been
incorporated into the Danish rules on protection of fur animals
from 2007. The Danish rules on mink welfare made in
cooperation between Kopenhagen Fur and the Danish Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are therefore stricter
than the European rules.
All Danish mink farms are subject to annual, statutory
veterinarian visits. The visits involve a routine
inspection to identify any health or welfare issues on the
farm. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration
also makes regular inspections of farm welfare.
Danish research in fur animal welfare extends 30 years
back with some of the most comprehensive documentation in livestock
research in Denmark. Research in mink welfare is
performed by scientists from the University of Copenhagen and
Aarhus University and continues to receive funding from the Danish
government and Kopenhagen Fur.
Even at EU level, Kopenhagen Fur supports research into
animal welfare in connection with the major EU Welfare Quality
Project. The project objective is to certify animal
welfare at farm level, providing the individual fur farmer with a
tool to map and correct any welfare problems and to map and plan
farm management according to animal welfare status.
In the long term, the Welfare Quality Project will evolve
into a labelling scheme for livestock, thus providing a guarantee
to consumers that animal welfare in animal products is ensured
through qualified welfare research. As farmer
association, Kopenhagen Fur has invested millions in certifying
animal welfare of mink at EU level.
The authorities are responsible for checking that
legislation is observed at Danish fur farms. If
Kopenhagen Fur learns that a farm is acting illegally, the
association will take steps to intervene immediately.
When the association is notified that a fur farm is
failing to uphold animal welfare, an association representative
will visit the farmer as soon as possible. The
representative will determine whether there are any problems, and
if he/she finds anything criticisable, the farmer will be
instructed to correct the problem immediately. If the
farmer fails to solve the problem, he/she will be told that
Kopenhagen Fur will report the case to the relevant authorities
without any further notice.
Kopenhagen Fur never ignores any intelligence, and the
association is committed to addressing complaints actively.
However, complaints are rare. Kopenhagen Fur
handles no more than five complaints annually, and just a couple of
them concern animal welfare.