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
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
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
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.