The lifestyle of native and non-native hunters and trappers shows a clear example of the “sustainable use” of a renewable, natural resource, a principle that is deeply held by many leading conservation organisations, including Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the World Conservation Union/IUCN and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The fur trade does not use endangered species and has supported research to ensure that harvesting methods meet the highest animal welfare standards. An important international agreement now exists that establishes high animal welfare standards for trapping fur-bearing animals. The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) was signed by the European Commission and the governments of Canada and Russia in 1997, with a parallel agreement signed by the USA in the same year. All signatory countries are committed to prohibiting the use of any trap that is not certified in accordance with the high standards established under the Agreement.
Farmed animals such as mink, fox and chinchilla, have been selectively bred over many generations. They have adapted well to the farm environment and are now considered domesticated by veterinary scientists. They can no longer be compared to their wild counterparts, either in terms of how they look, their temperament or behaviour.
In the European Union, EU Directives govern the welfare of farm animals and permitted slaughter methods. EU environmental laws also apply to fur farming. In addition, European fur farmers helped to establish the Fur Animal Welfare Research Committee (FAWRC) in 1999, which reports to the Council of European Standing Committee on farm animal welfare. The Council of Europe Recommendation applies specifically to animals farmed for their fur and this Recommendation has been made into law in several European countries. It is part of the European Fur Breeders Association (EFBA) code of practice. In addition, EFBA is rolling out its Welfur programme – a set of welfare protocols developed by independent veterinary scientists specifically for farmed fur animals.
In the US, fur farmers are regulated by their State Department of Agriculture and must also operate under federal environmental standards, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. In addition to these regulations, fur farmers have consulted with veterinarian scientists to develop a set of industry standards. These standards are administered by the Fur Commission USA, which is also responsible for ensuring that they are updated in accordance with new animal welfare science. In Canada the Department of Agriculture and
Canadian Federation Humane Societies developed codes of practice that govern fur farming. These are currently being updated.
Fur farmers aim to provide the best in all aspects of care for each animal: housing, nutrition and general welfare, specific for the health and wellbeing of each species. On-going scientific research by independent academic veterinary experts ensures that welfare standards are continually monitored and updated by fur farmers who are informed of new developments. For example, nest boxes were introduced for mink when it was shown through sound research that these would enhance the mink’s wellbeing.
ENDANGERED AND DOMESTIC SPECIES LEGISLATION
The fur trade does not trade in endangered species. It upholds national and international legislation and codes of practice that ban any trade in endangered species. The International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) promotes clear fur-species labelling in both the national language and with the latin scientific name.
The International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) fully supports the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which regulates trade in threatened and endangered species. The IFTF is also a voting member of the World Conservation Union/IUCN since 1985, which carefully monitors the status of the world’s natural resources to ensure that any use is ecologically sustainable.
The international fur trade does not trade in domestic cat and dog fur.
- See more at: http://www.wearefur.com/our-trade/regulation#sthash.wwEqriqG.dpuf
Lucy Upsher – The craft of working for Roberto Cavalli