Around the world, tens of millions of animals are caged in filthy fur farms and subjected to cruel, body-crushing traps each year so their pelts can be turned into luxury fashion items. Fortunately, the global fur industry has experienced significant setbacks in recent months: In June, Israel became the first country in the world to prohibit the sale of fur for use in fashion (in 2019, California became the first US state to do so) and Estonia became the latest European country to prohibit fur farming. Around the same time, the United Kingdom announced plans to review its fur trade policies with an eye toward strengthening its animal welfare standards. In addition, several fashion houses—including Alexander McQueen, Valentino, and Saks Fifth Avenue—recently joined a growing list of companies that have decided to stop selling animal fur products.
Meanwhile, AWI has pushed for reform of the US fur industry. We’ve proposed federal legislation that would phase out mink farms (by far the most common type of fur farm) and require strict reporting and inspection requirements for all fur farms. We have also urged the US Department of Agriculture to increase the transparency of the US fur industry by collecting more information about fur operations and making that data available to the public.
These changes are necessary to protect both animals and public health. The confined conditions of fur farms have resulted in the often-lethal spread of COVID-19 among thousands of farmed mink both in the United States and abroad. In a few instances, farmed mink have transmitted a mutated form of the virus back to humans. The move toward fur-free fashion is a step toward a healthier, more humane future.