More than 1.7 million Europeans call for an end to fur in Europe

Brenda Ferretti
Campaigns manager

The Fur Free Europe Citizens’ Initiative was brought to an end before the official deadline thanks to a record number of signatures collected. In less than ten months, more than 1.7 million citizens signed the petition to end the fur trade, sending a strong message to the European Commission.

Thanks to the efforts of all the associations, we have achieved an extraordinary result. This popular initiative gained momentum from day one and shows that European citizens are sending a very clear message to the European Commission: the time has come for a fur-free Europe.

Incredible support for the fight against fur in a short time

Fur Free Europe was launched in May 2022 by Eurogroup for Animals and in a very short time received extraordinary support from citizens, including 85,132 Italian citizens. The success of the Fur Free Europe petition in Italy is also thanks to the other organisations that joined: Animal Law Italia, HSI Italia and LAV.

The initiative was promoted by more than eighty organisations from all over Europe, including us at Essere Animali. For more than 10 years, we have been committed to ending the production of fur in Italy, where the practice has finally been banned since 1 January 2022. However, the European Citizens’ Initiative calls not only for a ban on the farming of animals for fur, but also on the trade and import of fur throughout the continent.Β 

Fur Free Europe collected 50,000 signatures on the launch day alone and now, 2.5 months before the official deadline, 1,701,892 signatures have been collected, offering a good margin of safety for reaching 1 million validated signatures. The European Citizens’ Initiative has also successfully reached the threshold of signatures in 21 member states, almost three times the minimum requirement of seven member states. The decision to close the European Citizens’ Initiative early was made due to the potential impact it could have on the upcoming revision of European animal welfare legislation, as part of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy.

Our contribution to the campaign

In recent months, Essere Animali has supported the Fur Free Europe campaign in various ways. We carried out an investigation on a fox farm in Poland for fur production, where we documented the terrible living conditions of animals that spend their entire life confined to cramped and dilapidated cages.

We involved activists in Milan and Bologna and organised street initiatives with banners and billboards. One of the most impactful campaigns we carried out last September during the Fashion Week in Milan, carried out with the associations LAV, Humane Society International/Europe and ALI (Animal Law Italia) was projecting onto the building at number 31 of Piazza Duomo β€” where the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, organiser of Fashion Weeks, is based β€” the message: β€œAct now for a Fur Free Europe”. The campaign was then repeated at the Castello Sforzesco.

What comes next?

Once the signatures have been deposited and validated, the second phase of debate within the European institutions will begin. As Anja Hazekamp (Party for Animals, Netherlands), chair of the Fur Free Europe working group of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals in the European Parliament explains: β€œOnce the validation process is completed, the parliamentary process will begin. As chair of the Fur Free Europe working group in the European Parliament, I am honoured to lead this process and to ensure that citizens’ demands are heard and that fur can finally be laid to rest in Europe.”