European ban on import of dog and cat fur likely

21 November 2006

European ban on import of dog and cat fur likely

The European Commission today proposed an EU-wide ban on the sale, import and production of furs from dogs and cats. Such a measure would mean that the parliamentary motion successfully put forward by SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen would at last be implemented: “A long wait rewarded,” as she put it.

Krista van VelzenMinister of Agriculture Cees Veerman has stalled on the question for years, refusing to implement parliament's demand on the grounds that he was waiting for measures to be taken at European level. “The minister's feeble attitude to matters affecting animal welfare has been really irritating,” Ms Van Velzen said. “It's a great pity that he always wants to wait for European measures when the Netherlands should be taking a lead. I hope that a new minister will soon be in place who will be prepared to set his own agenda on more issues, instead of letting himself be held up by Europe.”

The government has in recent years kept track of the import of dog and cat fur, but has failed to impose a national ban, although the raising of these animals for their fur in the Netherlands is forbidden. “The dogs and cats are slaughtered in a most horrible way,” Van Velzen said, “but this government is unconcerned if this happens outside our borders. I am delighted that the European Commission is now taking action and forcing the Netherlands to legislate. It's nevertheless a shame that it's always necessary to have to wait for such an initiative.”

Globally some two million cats and dogs are killed for their coats every year. In China alone around 5400 cats and dogs are killed every year. China is the principal source of such furs, which are usually fraudulently substituted for dearer sorts of fur. Toys most commonly contain sections of the coats of these animals.

Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, is confident that the European Parliament and the member states will speedily approve the proposal.

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