Estonia Is Shutting Down All Its Fur Farms

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Jun. 3 2021, Published 11:12 a.m. ET

Estonia bans fur farming
Source: Getty Images

It happened by a narrow margin, but a bill proposing a fur ban in the Northern European country Estonia has officially passed after a decade-long fight. Estonia is banning fur farming nationwide — five years from now, all fur farms across the country must be completely shut down. And starting next month, no more fur farms will be allowed to open in the country.

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Estonia has been a big fur producer over the years, but everything’s about to change — keep reading for all the details.

Fur protest
Source: Getty Images
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Estonia is banning fur.

As reported by Just Style, on Thursday, June 2, 2021, Estonia’s parliament, the Riigikogu, passed the third legislation of the country’s newest fur ban bill. 55 out of 101 members of parliament voted in favor of the bill, meaning it has been approved to become law.  

Come July 2021, no new fur farms will be allowed to open in the country of Estonia. But even with four weeks remaining to legally start a new fur business, doing so would be a bit foolish, considering all fur farms in Estonia will have to shut down come January 2026. And as parliament member Yoko Alender told Just Style, there are currently only 11 people working in fur farms in Estonia, and just 1,000 animals alive in the industry.

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“We celebrate with Estonia today, as it becomes the first Baltic country to ban inhumane fur farming, and we congratulate local animal welfare groups on their years of campaigning to get the ban done,” Claire Bass of Humane Society International/United Kingdom, said in a statement, as per VegNews. “This victory provides further affirmation that caging, electrocuting, and gassing animals just to make bobble hats is a business that is on borrowed time.”

The fur farming industry is incredibly cruel, with animals being bred into cramped and unhygienic living conditions, where they are forced to live until being slaughtered for their fur. Not only does the fur industry unnecessarily hurt animals, but it is also environmentally destructive — and with so many animal-free, vegan fur products on the market these days, there’s simply no reason to use animals for fur.

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Estonia has been working on a fur ban for years.

The Estonian parliament has seen several fur ban proposals since 2009, and has faced several rejections before this week’s victory, as per ERR News

According to animal protection group Eurogroup for Animals, at one point, Estonia’s largest fur farm, Balti Karusnahk AS, had about 160,000 animals (about 130,000 minks and 30,000 foxes) at a time. But in February 2021, Eurogroup for Animals reported that Balti Karusnahk AS had been completely emptied of animals due to financial issues, though it was holding off on officially shutting down — an important symbol of the industry's decline.

What countries have banned fur farming?

Estonia is not the first country to ban fur farming. Others to ban the cruel practice include Austria, Bosnia, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, and the U.K., as per Humane Society International. Additionally, many cities and states around the world have instituted various fur bans, according to a detailed list compiled by PETA.

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