It was a familiar scene: baby minks snuggle up against each other under a pile of hay in a very small cage – their skin are still smooth and furless. In just a few months, they too will be gassed and skinned for their fur.
But not anymore, as the Norwegian parliament finally puts a stop to this activity.
The country will adopt a new legislation that bans any new fur farms and for existing ones to be dismantled by February 1, 2025. Norway, which is responsible for one percent of the world production of mink and fox furs, joins other countries like Britain and the Netherlands in going fur-free.
“It’s a big victory for animal welfare in Norway. It’s a realization that the consideration for animals can actually weigh heavier than just money and business interests,” Siri Martinsen, head of Noah, an organization that has been lobbying for the ban for almost three decades, told AFP. “It’s totally unnatural and against these animals’ needs to keep them in very tiny metal cages.”
Morten Orsal Johansen, the MP who has been overseeing the legislation, claimed that “fur farming in Norway is over,” even though he actually opposes the ban.
Though a great victory for many advocates and government officials, fur farmers are devastated. Norwegian fur farmers’ association even says it is “unjustified, illegal and undemocratic.”
The new legislation came after several animal rights’ activists slammed fur farms of animal cruelty, and most importantly, it was also a compromise between Norway’s right wing government and the Liberal Party to join the coalition earlier last year.
Kristian Aasen, a fur farmer, says 70 percent of his income comes from the farm, without it, he has nothing.
“I can’t make a living off my farm without the fur,” he said.
The government said they will provide 100 million kroner to help farmers find other sources of income. But the farmers insist that is not enough, as they would need 2.3 billion kroner.
“Five hundred million kroner, that may seem like a lot but this is not about compensating the simple loss of a job. This is about the farmers’ entire livelihood that is disappearing,” Wormdahl, from the fur farmers’ association, said.