Fur farmers face more restrictions

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After repeated cases of animal abuse at Norwegian fur farms, state officials are now imposing more restrictions and tougher regulations. Animal rights activists wish the farms had been shut down all together.

Protests continue against the fur industry in Norway. These two foxes share the same cage, but new rules won’t allow that for mink. PHOTO: LMD

The state agricultural ministry, responding to all the findings of negligence and poor conditions in animals’ cages, is now prohibiting keeping mink, for example, together in the same cages. Exceptions will only be made, according to an announcement last last week, if small fur farmers take part in a special animal welfare program.

State inspectors are also promising more unannounced visits to fur farms, and more often. Regulations for how various other animals are caged are also being tightened.

“The industry has put forward a proposal for an animal welfare program, which has been out to hearing,” Agriculture Minister Jon Georg Dale said. “More changes must be made in it before it will be approved. We’ll have more talks with the industry on it.”

Dale was clearly not satisfied with the industry’s own proposal. “The industry has proposed that Norges Pelsdyralslag (Norway’s national fur trade association) shall determine whether the demands for taking part in the animal welfare program are being met,” Dale said. “I think Mattilsynet (Norway’s food and animal regulators) must do that.”

He wants the impartial state regulatory agency to also determine whether the goals of the animal welfare program are being met. “After the program is approved and put into force, I want an early evaluation of the improvements,” Dale added.

The Parliament itself asked the government to impose bans on holding two or more animals together in the same cage. Animal rights groups, meanwhile, aren’t satisfied, especially after the government cut funding for animal protection in the new state budget.

Animal rights group NOAH recently held a torchlit parade to protest abuses in Norway’s fur industry, that attracted a record-large turnout. Demonstrations were also held from Alta in the north to Kristiansand  in the south. NOAH leader Siri Martinsen vowed then that protests will continue “until all the cages are empty.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

  • John Palmer

    If raising animals for their hides is abolished in Norway, more animals will be raised in other countries that lack Norway’s values. So is it better that foreign animals suffer? We should be advocating for more fur farming in Norway. And if you think you can abolish fur farming worldwide, then you should be tested for ostrich DNA.

    • Ty Savoy

      John, if these were human slaves living in poor conditions, treated like lesser beings, would you think it ok, and use your argument given, that it will take place elsewhere anyway. Wrong is wrong. People everywhere have to stand up and do something when they see animal cruelty like this.

      • John Palmer

        False analogy. I see nothing wrong with animals for fur or food. If any country can impose more humane conditions, it is Norway. I was under the impression that Norway was working for more humane conditions, therefore I’d rather see more for-fur-animals in Norway.

        • Hugh Winwood-Smith

          The fact that you have no problem with fur farming doesn’t make it a false analogy. The proposition is that if something is unethical, then should one continue to do it because if you don’t it will occur in greater volume by others that will do it in an even more unethical manner. Substitute anything you want into that equation. Given that the proposal of abolition is predicated on the idea that it is not ethical to raise these animals for fur in the first place, then that’s the underlying premise you have to go with when offering a alternative solution to abolition. Otherwise, you need to establish a different starting point, which is that you think it’s ethical kill sentient animals for their fur, in which case that’s the argument that needs to occur before you try to argue with someone who disagrees with that premise, that they should be farmed with higher welfare standards. You put the cart before the horse.

          • John Palmer

            Very good analysis. I have no problem killing animals. I prefer that they be killed without suffering and be kept in humane conditions. As for absolute good or bad, I agree with Shakespeare: “… there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Cultural relativity. I enjoyed eating whale when in Norway. Back in California, I choose not to shout that from the roof tops. Not that it is wrong in California, but that is the prevailing cultural standard there.