May 29, 2009
A comprehensive EU-wide ban on trade in cat and dog fur was approved by the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection on April 12. The committee scrapped a proposed exception that would allow trade in fur from cats and dogs “not bred or killed for fur production,” the parliament’s news service reported.
As Committee Chairwoman Arlene McCarthy of the United Kingdom said, “We want a ban, not a restriction.” In December 2003, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to draft a regulation banning the import, export, sale and production of cat and dog fur and skins.
Three years later – after a public outcry over evidence that cat and dog fur products were still entering the EU, despite a voluntary code of conduct adopted by European fur traders – the Parliament got its wish.
“The placing on the market and the import to or export from the Community of fur of cats and dogs and products containing such fur shall be prohibited”, stipulates Article 1 of the draft regulation proposed by the Commission. The Committee backed the thrust of this article by a large majority, with just a minor adjustment of the wording.
What they did not back, however, was the Commission’s proposed exception from the ban. As drafted, this exception would open up the possibility for the placing of cat and dog fur on the EU market provided that the fur (or products containing it) would be (a) “labelled as originating from cats or dogs that have not been bred or killed for fur production”, or (b) constitute “personal or household effects” introduced into, or exported from, the Community.
Rapporteur Eva-Britt Svensson of Sweden was adamant about doing away with the exception. If it stayed, it “would provide a gaping loophole, which would be ruthlessly exploited by traders of all future consignments of cat and dog fur, thus rendering the entire regulation useless,” she said. “I have not yet heard any serious arguments for exceptions or derogations,” Svensson said.
She said the background to the ban was reports about cruelty in the production of such furs and a strong public reaction with hundreds of thousands of people signing petitions to end the practice.
She characterised the practice as “cruel and extremely sickening,” and said the killing methods of many cat and dog slaughter houses involved prolonged suffering by strangulation with animals often being skinned while still alive. The fur is then used in toys, shoes and clothing without any labelling.
“There is no justification for the repulsive treatment of cats and dogs,” Svensson said. “This industry is built on torturing animals and such furs can be replaced by other materials. The wearing of animal fur for mere aesthetic purposes is disgusting. I therefore want to see the ban on cat and dog fur as a first step towards additional measures against the trading in other skins and furs, for example for seal skins.”
MEP Simon Coveney of Ireland said, “In excess of two million cats and dogs are slaughtered in China each year. The animals are kept in extremely cruel conditions before being skinned alive or being stabbed or strangled solely for their fur. The fur is often dyed and is fraudulently labelled to trick the consumer into believing it is faux fur or even mink.
Labels: dog fur