At January 1 2023, Sweden dropped all restrictions on mink farming, caused by the excessive spread of SARS-CoV-2 in fur farms during the pandemic.
Sweden’s Board of Agriculture admits, that the risk of diseases still remains, but refer to the Swedish mink association’s health program, which is supposed to lower any risks.
The program has been criticized for only demanding one additional visit by a veterinarian per year, compared to what is already required by the Swedish legislation.
“I am very concerned that the mink industry is now again responsible to do something that they couldn’t handle before, which is to keep the minks healthy,” said Camilla Bergvall, President at Djurens Rätt (Animal Rights)
Djurens Rätt has reported, that several Swedish mink farms didn’t follow the restrictions during the pandemic. They have also stated, that there were long periods with no control by the Swedish authorities.
Denmark is also back in business
After a two-year ban, Denmark announced that mink farming would be allowed again from January 2023. The government introduced the ban in 2020 after killing 17 million minks to minimize the spreading of Covid-19.
Animal welfare organizations supported the ban back in 2020 but added, that the industry should be banned “solely to consider the welfare of the animals’.” But according to former Agriculture Minister, Rasmus Prehn, it was always only about public health.
Before all mink were killed in 2020, mink farming was a big industry in Denmark. The nordic nation had more than 1,200 mink farms located around the country. These farms were responsible for producing a big part of the mink fur used in clothing and luxury goods.
But the industry has faced a lot of criticism from animal rights organizations, due to the conditions in which the animals are kept.
Video footage from fox farm caused outrage
Another Scandinavian country dominating the european fur industry is Finland.
Finland is the largest producer of foxes, with a production of 900,000 fox fur skins in 2021. Finland’s export value of fur in 2021 was €126 million.
The Finnish animal rights group, Justice for Animals, revealed a video last month, showcasing the conditions in which the foxes live. A footage that caused outrage due to to the poor conditions of the animals.
European Citizens Initiative called for an EU-wide ban on the fur industry back in December. The proposal reached one million signatures, but those favoring a ban in Finland’s parliament are still a minority, since the million-euro industry is considered vital to some remote areas.
Fur free fashion
In August 2022 Copenhagen Fashion Week was fur-free for the first time. Other Scandinavian fashion weeks like Helsinki and Oslo have also banned fur, but still the countries continue to produce fur on a high scale.
Fur farming has been banned in 19 European countries, 14 of which are EU member states, but none of the Scandinavian countries are on the list.
The main Scandinavian exports of farmed fur therefore goes to third countries. A huge part of the Scandinvian fur export goes to Southeast Asian countries as Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, and Thailand.