Ethics: Fur farming does not differ from any other animal husbandry

In 1999 the Council of Europe adopted a number of recommendations regarding fur farming. These are now implemented in Danish law and in this connection the Minister of Justice asked the Animal Ethics Council to submit recommendations on fur farming in Denmark. The council has in their recommendation included areas like domestication, animal welfare, ethics and fauna pollution.

In a few European countries rabid animal rights activists have penetrated politically with an anti-fur-agenda. In England fur farming has been banned with reference to "public morality". Despite several attempts nobody has succeeded in justifying a ban based on animal welfare problems.

In the recommendation the Animal Ethics Council touches on special ethical aspects that lie beyond the professional comments on animal welfare.

The members of the Council differ widely in their opinion on fur farming, from the most common being "fur farming is an animal husbandry that is to be evaluated on the same terms as any other animal husbandry" to " the purpose of the production makes a great difference for the ethical evaluation".

To the majority of the members it does not matter if the animals are farmed in order to produce fur or foodstuffs. They want to review if the farming of the animals meets the requirements of the animals.

Some members find that it is unacceptable to use fur - and thereby fur animals - merely for decoration or as a status symbol, when so many other products can be used instead. However, all members of the Council agree that it is difficult to make a general definition, when people's needs are more or less luxurious.

As it is stated: "If as a starting point we regard fur as a product on a par with other products we get from animals, it is difficult to see in which way fur should differ from the rest as a especially luxurious product. In our society we surround ourselves with products that are unnecessary, and the definition of luxurious can therefore seem somewhat random. For instance it is difficult to argue why fur should be more luxurious than meat, when in our parts of the world there are plenty of substitutes for both. And if you choose to include environmental considerations, fur may seem less luxurious than meat, as you can argue that fur is a more environmentally desirable product than synthetic materials and against the production of meat that has a negative impact on the environment and a poorer exploitation of land than plant production".

Therefore the Council finds that discussions on fur production must be divided into several levels, where the Council - if the logic of consistency is to be in order - first and foremost must come to a principle decision, if production of animals is acceptable.

In other words: Do you want to eat chops and were leather shoes and fur coat; or are you a vegan, who totally abstains from using animal products?

The paragraph on ethics is a rejection of the campaign which fanatical animal rights activists run against fur farming once in a while. The majority of the council members state that fur farming is to be reviewed on a par with any other livestock production. What matters is that the animals are cared for and that the housing meets the requirements of the animals, it does not matter what the animals are to be used for. Some council members also include other considerations, but they all agree that if considering what is most luxurious, it is difficult to differ between fur and for instance meat - if you want to maintain a certain logic of consistency.