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Food Safety

ECI ‘Fur Free Europe’

About this initiative

In March 2022, the European Commission registered the European Citizens' Initiative entitled ‘Fur Free Europe'. The organisers of the initiative invite the Commission to prohibit by law, throughout the Union, the:

  • keeping and killing of animals for the sole or main purpose of fur production.

  • placement of farmed animal fur, and products containing such fur, on the EU market.

By June 2023, the organisers of the ECI collected more than 1.5 million valid signatures with the minimum threshold reached in 18 Member States and submitted the valid initiative to the European Commission.

The European Commission has to undertake, by the end of 2023, a thorough assessment of the “Fur Free Europe” initiative and publish the actions it intends to take, if any, its reasons for doing so by way of a Communication.

Additional information regarding this European Citizens' Initiative, available on the organisers' website and the dedicated Commission's webpage.

Response of the Commission

The Commission published the response to this initiative on 7 December 2023 in the form of a Communication, setting out the Commission's legal and political conclusions on the initiative and the actions it intends to take as a response.

The Commission's actions will concern:

  • The welfare of animals kept for fur production;
  • The One health dimension;
  • the environmental aspects linked to Invasive alien species; and
  • labelling aspects related to the animals kept for fur production.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked provide by March 2025 an updated scientific opinion on the welfare of fur animals, namely for mink, foxes, raccoon dogs, chinchillas.

Taking into account the EFSA opinion and the outcomes of its own evaluation, the Commission will communicate by March 2026, whether it considers it appropriate to propose a prohibition, after a transition period, on the keeping in farms and killing of farmed mink, foxes, raccoon dogs or chinchilla, and whether it is appropriate to propose a prohibition, after a transition period, of the placing on the Union market of fur and fur products derived from such animals originating in fur farms, or alternatively to adopt, through EU legislation, appropriate standards suited to better address the welfare needs of the animals.

Next steps

The Commission plans to conduct, in 2024, three on-site visits to Member States with mink/fur farms, exploring the controls and the One Health mechanisms in place.

Depending on the outcome of the ongoing risk assessment, the Commission will consider in 2024 whether to propose the American mink (Neovison vison) for listing under the Invasive Alien Species Regulation.

The Commission will finalise during 2024 the evaluation and impact assessment for the revision of the Textile Labelling Regulation to require harmonized and detaled labelling information to consumers on the presence of real fur including in clothing accessories. Based on this evaluation, the Commission will consider if such a revision is opportune.

EFSA mandate

The mandate requests EFSA to give an independent view on the protection of animals kept for fur production and to deliver, by March 2025, one technical report, in accordance with Article 31 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 and a scientific opinion in accordance with Article 29 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 for mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas.