A major win for animals in Italy caps off a year of remarkable progress toward a fur-free future. Today, the Italian Senate Budget Committee approved an amendment that will shutter the country’s 10 remaining fur farms within six months and enact a permanent ban on fur farming throughout Italy. This massive win follows Humane Society International/Europe’s presentation of ways to close and convert fur farms into humane and sustainable businesses in its report Mink breeding in Italy: Mapping and future perspectives.
We couldn’t be happier about this news as we round out a year of massive wins for animals born to die on fur farms. 2021 was a monumental time for our fur-free campaign here in the U.S. and globally. Not only did some of the biggest names in fashion go fur-free, but cities and countries around the world passed laws banning fur production or sales. We were there every step of the way to celebrate these victories and shine a continuous light on the millions of animals still suffering and dying for the frivolous fur trade. Ending the fur trade for good is one of our top priorities, and we won’t stop until every cage and trap is empty.
This year, the list of fur-free brands and retailers grew to new heights as more and more companies realized their customers want nothing to do with animal cruelty in their wardrobes. Just this month, ELLE magazine, and all its 45 editions around the world, announced an end to promoting fur in its pages and online, which will likely send waves of compassion throughout the entire fashion industry.
Kering, one of the largest luxury fashion conglomerates and parent company to many well-known luxury brands—including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and Brioni—announced a fur-free policy, as did Canada Goose, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Tory Burch, Moose Knuckles, Mackage and Rudsak. French luxury brand Chloé also announced its ban on fur, as well as exotic skins and angora.
Any other year, those announcements alone would have been quite an achievement for the fur-free movement, but 2021 also saw some of the biggest retailers—including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, MyTheresa, Holt Renfrew and Walmart—join the fight against the fur trade by going fur-free.
These corporate announcements, along with new investigations by HSI showing the standardized cruelty on fur-farms in China and Finland, helped drive cities like Ann Arbor, Mich., Brookline, Mass., Weston, Mass., Hallandale Beach, Fla., and Boulder, Colo., to ban fur sales. Earlier this year, Israel became the first country to ban fur sales, and in the UK, the British government launched a formal Call for Evidence to consider banning the import and sale of animal fur. The #FurFreeBritain campaign will be a top priority for HSI in 2022.
As the demand for fur products continues to drop and the number of fur farms with COVID-19 outbreaks continues to climb (we now stand at 465 infected fur farms in 12 countries), fur production is becoming less profitable and fur farmers have no other choice but to transition to other industries. The value of the U.S. mink trade hit an all-time low this year, and France and Estonia passed legislation banning fur production. British Columbia became the first province in Canada to end fur farming.
It has been one win after another in the fight to save animals from the cruel fate of the fur trade, and it’s so heartening to see this work make a tangible difference and empower people to take a stand for a more humane future. To help end fur production in all countries, we teamed up with Stella McCartney in 2021 to ask supporters to sign a petition urging world leaders to end fur farming globally, and thanks to you, nearly 900,000 signatures were submitted by us and our partners at the Fur Free Alliance to the delegation ahead of the G20 meeting in Rome.
The fur-free fight has been ongoing for decades, but we’ve never had this much momentum and this much support. 2021 is proof that the end is in sight. But to get there, we still need your support, whether it’s writing to the handful of companies that still don’t have fur-free policies, sharing fur farm investigations on social media or simply signing petitions and alerts. Together, we can end the fur trade, and once we do, other industries that profit from animal cruelty will surely take notice.
Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.