Organizations that oppose fur farms in Estonia said they left a Parliament-organized roundtable Tuesday with more optimism that their concerns were being addressed.
"Besides the shortcomings in animal welfare on fur farms, a concern for Estonia is minks escaping into the wild and destroying the European mink populations. Thus the situation should be approached broadly, by mapping and then talking of the possibility of a ban," said In the Name of the Animals representative Kristina Mering.
Estonian Society for the Protection of Animals member Annika Lepp says the government should start by taking action on blanket violations on fox and mink farms and crack down on unlicensed activity.
Lepp said rules on animal disease control were also flouted by some farms. "For instance, Karjaküla farm still does not have a manure storage facility after decades in operation."
Head of the Kuulikodu, another center for animal protection, Kadri Taperson, said she was pleased that ethics was discussed at the roundtable. "Even if farms were compliant, keeping wild animals in cages would still be unethical. The representative from the Veterinary and Food Board agreed that it wasn't possible for a caged animal to live a natural life."
Fur farms are banned in England and Northern Ireland, Austria, Slovenia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands, with a partial ban in effect in Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and New Zealand.