In Rome, this Tuesday, December 21, 2021, the Italian Senate Budget Committee voted in favor of an amended version of an amendment to the finance law that will see the 10 remaining mink fur farms in the country closed. within six months and a permanent ban on fur farming throughout Italy.
The vote follows discussions with the animal welfare organization Humane Society International / Europe which presented practical and strategic solutions to shut down and convert fur farms into alternative, humane and sustainable businesses in its recent report. “Mink farming in Italy: mapping and future prospects”. Although the decision requires final parliamentary approval, it is expected to be adopted by the end of the year, making Italy the 16th country in Europe to ban fur farming. Many Italian designers have already ditched fur, including Valentino, Armani, GUCCI, Prada and Versace.
The HSI / Europe Fur Farm Conversion Proposal, which aimed to end animal husbandry due to cruelty to animals and public health risks associated with zoonoses, was endorsed by Italian MP Michela Vittoria Brambilla, who launched political action to implement the conversion strategy with existing public funds, and Senator Loredana De Petris who officially submitted the amendment.
Martina Pluda, Director of Humane Society International in Italy, said: “This is a historic victory for animal welfare in Italy, and HSI / Europe is immensely proud that our strategy of converting fur farms. played a central role in dismantling this cruel and dangerous industry in our country. There are very clear economic, environmental, public health and, of course, animal welfare reasons for shutting down and banning fur farms. Today's vote recognizes that allowing the mass farming of wild animals for the frivolous fad of fur poses a risk to animals and people that cannot be justified by the limited economic benefits it offers to a small minority of people involved in this cruel industry. With so many designers, retailers and consumers going without fur, converting fur farms offers people a sustainable future that the fur trade simply cannot provide. "
The approved amendment includes:
• An immediate ban on the breeding of fur animals, including mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas, and the closure of all active fur farms in Italy by June 30, 2022;
• Compensation for farmers, covered by a fund from the Ministry of Agriculture for a total amount of 3 million euros in 2022,
Honorable Michela Vittoria Brambilla, President of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Animal Rights and of the Italian League for the Defense of Animals and the Environment, commented on the vote: “In thirty years of battle for animal rights , this is the best victory. Finally, a parliamentary vote sanctions the end of the untold suffering inflicted on animals only in the name of profit and vanity. Italy is the twentieth European country to introduce a severe ban or restriction on fur farming: better late than never. We are now awaiting final approval of the finance law, but the political will has been clearly expressed. A dream that animal welfare associations have been cultivating for decades in our country is becoming reality. I would like to thank all the colleagues of the intergroup, in particular Vice-President De Petris, who presented the amendment and reported it to the committee, the parliamentarians who shared this choice and the Italian office of Humane Society International which promoted the economic study whose results formed the "basis" for the formulation of the proposal. It is a great success, which finally rejoices all those who love and respect animals! "
As of December 2021, COVID-19 outbreaks had been confirmed in 465 mink farms in 12 countries, including Italy (ten in Europe plus the United States and Canada). In February 2021, the European Food Safety Agency reported that all mink farms should be considered at risk for COVID-19 outbreaks. In January 2021, a risk assessment published jointly by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organization for Animal Health recognized Europe as a region at high risk for the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in fur farms, in addition to the impact of fur farms on humans, and the transmission of SARS-CoV -2 from fur farms to sensitive wild animal populations. Specifically, he assessed the risk factors and likelihood of introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 on fur farms in Italy as “probable”.