In May 2022, an alliance of more than 75 animal welfare organizations, including FOUR PAWS, has launched the "Fur Free Europe" European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). FOUR PAWS has been campaigning for an end to fur production and fur sales in Europe for almost 35 years. The petition will run until May 2023 and aims to achieve an European Union (EU) wide ban on the keeping and killing of animals for the sole or main purpose of fur production, as well as placing farmed animal fur, and products containing such fur, on the EU market.
With the ECI reaching it’s halftime mark, we look back at six months of activities and milestones reached.
After launching the ECI on May 18, we were very happy to see more than 100,000 people support an end of fur farming in the EU within the first month. In June, Finland, Denmark and Sweden passed their signature thresholds.
Then in August, Copenhagen Fashion Week sent an important signal to the fashion industry by choosing to ban fur from its runways. Latvia soon followed suit with a national fur ban that will come into force in 2028.
On the political level, FOUR PAWS contributed to a meeting of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals at the EU parliament in Strasbourg, where fur farming and the ECI #FurFreeEurope were the main topics.
At least as important as the news of surpassing more than half of the signatures, was providing the foxes Skadi, Mala and Samara, as well as the two raccoon dogs Asami and Emi with a new home. The furry group can finally live in a species-appropriate environment at TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary.
Stay tuned for more updates from #FurFreeEurope and FOUR PAWS efforts to end fur farming.
What is an ECI?
A European Citizen’s Initiative (or ECI for short) is not simply a "regular" petition, but a unique and effective way for EU citizens to help shape the future by calling on the European Commission to propose new laws. If an ECI is successful, the European Commission is obliged to respond and act, which means that it is a way for Europeans to take an active part in EU policymaking.
What is a threshold?
To be successful, not only does an ECI need 1 million validated signatures, but it also needs to surpass a certain threshold of signatures in at least seven EU countries. However, even if all thresholds are reached, the collected number of signatures will be below one million. Hence, thresholds can be seen as milestones along the way to collecting even more signatures to reach one million.
A blog post by Annabella McIntosh and Jessica Medcalf