Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Belgian fur breeders

Belgian fur breeders are jumping up and down with joy, and the media - naturally - must and shall repeat whatever they say. Lets have a critical look at todays fur news from Belgium.

Dutch newsarticle:Mink breeders

"Onze sector verbieden, is de productie verleggen naar China en Rusland, waar ze onder dierenwelzijn iets helemaal anders verstaan dan wij", repliceert Marnix Van Laecke die zijn 18 collega’s in Vlaanderen vertegenwoordigt.

in plain english: according to Marnix Van Laecke (chairman of the belgian fur breeder association) it would be wrong to illegalize their industry. This would only move the production of fur to countries such as China and Russia, where they think very differently about such things as 'animal welfare'.

Fact: Most fur is already being produced in other countries. There are only 19 minkbreeders left in Belgium! Most of the fur you see on the streets (fur collars,cuffs) is cheap fur from just those countries he mentioned (like China).

The increase in popularity of fur has to do with cheaper (and even more cruel) fur products hitting the market and some clever lobbying of the fur industry (thanks to scandinavian countries).

Hij benadrukt dat de afstammelingen van de Amerikaanse nerts die in Vlaanderen worden gekweekt, gedomesticeerde dieren zijn die in het wild niet meer kunnen overleven.

English: the american mink that are being bred here are supposed to be domesticated animals who can't survive in the wild.

Fact: yes, most of them can't survive in the wild, Not because they are domesticated but because they never learned to survive in the wild. Often it is claimed that these animals are domesticated. But that is disputed.

The welfare of fur bearing animals is often called into question.

Just recently the norwegian vet association called for a ban on fur breeding on animal welfare grounds. blogged about it here

Animal rights and welfare groups in Norway tried to draw attention to welfare concers, but apparently many are impervious to facts. I'll give it a shot:

“Dagens pelsdyrhold er basert på hold av aktive rovdyr i små nettingbur. Driftsformen betyr at dyrene ikke får tilfredsstilt naturlige adferdsbehov. DNV har tidligere uttrykt skepsis til pelsdyrholdet. På tross av gode intensjoner i næringa, viser det seg at det fortsatt er store dyrevelferdsmessige problemer i pelsdyrholdet. DNV mener derfor at tiden nå er moden for å vurdere avvikling av pelsdyrholdet i Norge. ”
Den Norske Veterinærforening, 2009 (Norsk Veterinær Tidsskrift, nr. 7/09)

According to the vet association of Norway, todays fur breeding is based on keeping active predators in small wire mesh cages. This means that the animals cannot satisfy their natural urges and behavior...
They go on to state that it should be banned. But let's just ignore these knitty gritty facts and keep promoting fur as if nothing is wrong.

Here are some more interesting facts for you to ignore(norwegian) pels ut

De sector lijkt in België niet snel te zullen verdwijen, en maar goed ook, menen de pelsdierhouders, want door de hernieuwde populariteit van bont bij modeontwerpers en consumenten, krijgen ze steeds meer geld voor hun pelzen en groeit ook de interesse om nieuwe nertskwekerijen te starten in ons land.

In short: they say that the fur industry isn't going to go away and that people are showing interest in starting up new fur farms in my country.

Fact: Oh joy. Let us see. The chairman of the belgian fur breeders association represents himself and 18 colleagues. So this means 19 fur farms in Belgium. I remember the days when we had over 30 fur breeders. In 2006 we had 23 mink breeders, now only 19 are left. That is a reduction of 4 breeders in about four years time (one for every year). Don't believe me? Fine, read this: fur

België telt een 23-tal pelsdierenhouders.

Translation: Belgium has 23 mink breeders (2006).

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