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