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WELFARE

The fur industry is a responsible industry. The IFTF and its members deplore cruelty to animals. The IFTF promotes strict codes of practice that meet or exceed established and accepted standards for animal welfare, for wild and farmed fur. The fur trade does not trade in endangered species.

 All furs used by the fur trade are either farmed or are taken from abundant, sustainable populations in the wild. The IFTF and its Members support independent scientific research into animal welfare in farming, trapping, population and habitat conservation. The IFTF encourages and supports animal welfare legislation that is based on sound, objective scientific research around the world.

A note on animal rights and animal welfare: there is a great deal of confusion about the difference between animal rights and animal welfare. This is a serious issue that we invite our visitors to consider.

Animal Welfare

People who support principles of animal welfare accept that we are on the top of the food chain and that animals are very important to us for many reasons, even vital to the survival of some communities. Animals have always provided us with food and clothing, and we have farmed certain species over thousands of generations to provide these things. Natural environments have been influenced and managed by human beings for longer. In modern times, numerous life-saving medical advances have been made possible only through being able to test procedures and drugs on animals. Therefore, given the huge and unending importance of animals to us and our massive influence over them, animal welfare supporters believe that we humans have a duty to care for the wellbeing of animals we come into contact with and to endeavour to conserve their natural eco-systems.

 This is the belief of the IFTF and its members. We do NOT believe in animal rights.

Animal Rights

Animal rights supporters believe that animals ought to have the same rights as human beings and that therefore humans have no right to use or manage animals, for any purpose.

 Therefore animal rights groups are against:

  •   Medical Research
  •  Farming / farmed animals
  •  Meat, Milk and Eggs (including organic)
  •  Hunting and Fishing
  •  Leather and Fur (including snakeskin, crocodile, etc.)
  •  Wool, Cashmere, Pashmina, Angora, Silk
  •  Zoos / Circuses / Animal shelters / Pets
  •  Horse-drawn carriages / ploughs, etc.

Animal rights groups raise their profile and funds by campaigning against luxury animal products such as fur, leather, silk, cashmere, snakeskin etc. and their campaigns are very emotive. Animal rights groups aim to achieve their goal to remove the consumer's choice to use any animal products by setting precedents. Through achieving bans on certain types of products (despite these products being from regulated and responsible industries like the fur trade) it is easier to campaign to ban other types of animal products such as meat or wool, a precedent having been set.

 The IFTF and its members believe that people have a democratic right to make their own decisions about what to do for a legitimate living, what to eat and what to wear; people should not have to live in a world where a major choice is removed altogether.

Farming regulations

Fur farming is well regulated and operates within the highest standards of care.

 In the European Union, Council Directive 98/58 sets down rules covering the welfare of all farmed animals, including fur farmed animals. Directive 93/119 deals with the slaughter and killing of fur and other farmed animals. Additionally, the Council of Europe adopted a Recommendation, revised in 1999, designed to ensure the health and welfare of farmed fur animals. The Recommendation deals comprehensively with matters of animal care, from the farming environment to stockmanship and inspection. Its requirements have been included in the European Fur Breeders' Association (EFBA) Code of Practice. The Recommendation is legally binding in Germany, has been incorporated into national law in Finland, Norway and Denmark. In addition, fur farming is covered by the same EU environmental laws that apply to all EU agricultural sectors.

In North America, fur farmers also follow strict Codes of Practice and conform to provincial, state or national animal welfare and other regulations. Regular veterinary checks are carried out in accordance with industry guidelines, provincial, state or national requirements. In the United States, a Merit Award programme has been introduced by the fur sector in consultation with veterinarians, animal scientists, wildlife biologists and farmers. The Award covers standards for the humane production of fur bearing animals and is achieved only after an independent inspection of the farm.

 In Russia fur farming is covered by agricultural and company legislation, as well as specific laws on fur animal breeding.

 Many producer countries have national authority or self-regulated industry inspection and reporting schemes, involving veterinary or other official scrutiny. For example, in Norway, a scheme is in place that involves 30 inspection groups who travel round the country visiting fur farmers. A veterinarian is assigned to each group. Conditions on farms are thoroughly checked and advice on improvements given when required.