Norway is phasing out fur farms by 2025, according to an ecstatic press statement released by the animal rights organization NOAH.
Once one of the world’s top producers of pelts, according to the Guardian, Norway currently generates about $46 million in revenue from 200 remaining fur farms. EcoWatch estimates that approximately 700,000 minks and 110,000 foxes are killed each year.
“After 28 years of struggle against fur farming NOAH can finally cheer for victory! The new government platform is in favor of the removal of fur farming in Norway,” NOAH exclaimed. “January 14 will be a happy day for the fur animals and for all who have fought for them.”
Reacting to the news, Norwegian fur breeders argued that their farms already comply with strict national animal welfare regulations. Only one year ago, the country’s parliament supposedly put the long-debated issue to bed by mandating the adoption of sustainable practices. Among other conditions, fur farmers had to agree to be monitored by WelFur, a third-party assessment program for European fur producers that claims to be “unconditionally the world’s most advanced animal welfare assessment programme to be implemented on a continental level,” according to their website.
The change in policy stems from a coalition compromise between the Conservative party of prime minister Erna Solberg and the anti-fur Liberal party. The farmers must dismantle their businesses before a 2024 deadline.
Two recent headline-generating events have been cited as bolstering the surge in pro-animal sentiment among the Norwegian voting base. First was the 2014 release of a PETA-produced expose film that captured footage of appalling conditions at fur farms in Norway and other countries that qualify for the so-called "origin assured" label. Second, a 2016 protest organized by NOAH drew 13,000 marchers in Oslo and other cities, making it the largest anti-fur protest in European history (hey, 13,000 people is a lot for a nation of 5.2 million, which is roughly the same population as the city of Milan).
Caution: This video is graphic and highly upsetting
Immediately following the victorious announcement, animal welfare organizations around the world shared in the celebrations and hailed Norway as a leader in the progress against cruelty.
"We are thrilled to see such an unequivocal pledge from the Norwegian government to ban all fur farming, and look forward to seeing this important decision receiving the political backing it deserves," said Ruud Tombrock, Executive Director of Humane Society International/EU, in a statement. "Factory farming wild animals for fur in appallingly deprived conditions is unconscionably cruel, so to see a ban on this dreadful trade in a Scandinavian country is truly historic."
Norway now joins the ranks of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom – European nations with fur farming bans in place.
The leading suppliers of fur products are China and Finland.