The Riigikogu on Wednesday banned fur farming becoming the first Baltic state to do so. 56 MPs voted in favor and 19 MPs against.
The Riigikogu passed a bill of amendments to the Animal Protection Act and Nature Conservation Act, which prohibits the breeding and keeping of animals in Estonia solely or mainly for the purpose of obtaining fur
The ban does not threaten breeders of animals such as sheep or rabbits. The proposed ban only covers fur farming where fur production is the sole or main purpose.
The bill was initiated by MPs Indrek Saar, Keit-Pentus Rosimannus, Jurgen Ligi, Signe Riisalo, Yoko Alender, Helmen Kutt, Lauri Laanemets, Siret Kotka, Andrei Korobeinik, Raimond Kaljulaid, Oudekki Loone, Katri Raik, Juri Jaanson, Toomas Kivimagi, Johannes Kert, Mart Vorklaev, Jevgeni Ossinovski, Kalvi Kova, Jaak Juske, Riina Sikkut, Heljo Pikhof, Liina Kersna and Madis Milling.
It establishes a transitional period according to which permits for keeping mink and raccoon dogs in farms issued before July 1, 2021 are valid until December 31, 2025, as keeping mink and raccoon dogs in farms will be prohibited from January 1, 2026.
Annaliisa Post, head of communications and a member of the management board of animal welfare organization Loomus, said that this is a historic victory.
"We have been working for this for years and we are extremely pleased that Estonia became the first Baltic state to ban fur farms. With this decision, we are setting an example both for neighboring countries and in the wider world. No animal should suffer for human vanity and we are grateful to the members of the Riigikogu for making an animal-friendly decision," she added.
The ban on fur farms has been under discussion in Estonia since 2009, when the issue was first raised in the Riigikogu. The plenary session of the Riigikogu has voted on the ban on fur farms in 2017 and 2019. On May 10, 2017, the bill was rejected in the first reading with 49 votes in favor and 24 against. The second time it was voted on at the beginning of 2019, the bill was rejected by 28 votes to 25.
The first European countries to ban fur farms were the United Kingdom and Austria, in 2000 and 2005, respectively. Bans have also been adopted by North Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Luxembourg, Serbia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. In several countries - Belgium, France, Norway, Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina - the ban has been adopted but will enter into force after a transitional period.
In addition to Loomus, Varjupaikade MTÜ (Animal Shelters NGO), the Estonian Society for the Protection of Animals, Pesaleidja, Kasside Turvakodu, Kelmikula Kassijaam, Tartu Kassikaitse, MTÜ Kassiabi, MTÜ Zoosemu, Eesti Roheline Liikumine (Estonian Green Movement), Päästame Eesti Metsad MTÜ (Save the Estonian Forest NGO), the pro-forest environmental NGO Eesti Metsa Abiks (EMA), Taimetoidumess and many others have supported the ban on fur farms.
Editor: Helen Wright