Facts & Reports
English Version of Dutch Court of Appeal Verdict
Read the historical document that will see Dutch fur farming finally phased out!
The ethical argument against the keeping of animals for fur has previously caused several European countries, among which the UK (2000), Austria (2004) and most recently the Belgium region of Walloon (2015), to ban fur farming completely. Fur bans are subject of debate in more and more European members states, and are particularly high on the current political agenda in Belgium and Germany.
The process of banning fur farming in the Netherlands
On 4 October 2006 member of Parliament Van Velzen submitted a proposed bill, aimed at the prohibition of fur farming. The bill was based on the ethical notion that it is unacceptable to keep fur animals and kill them solely for the purpose of fur production. The bill has led to the law for the prohibition of fur farming which became effective as of 15 January 2013. The law incorporates a phase-out period of 11 years to compensate the mink farmers for the financial damage caused by the ban and to enable them to earn back investments. The law furthermore contains accompanying measures to offer compensation for financial loss due to demolition costs, reinvestments or adversely affected pension provision.
In May 2014, after a legal challenge of the Dutch Federation of Fur Holders, the Dutch court dismissed the ban and stated the law infringes upon the mink farmers’ right of property, as set out in Article 1 of the First Protocol of the ECHR. The court judged there was a lack of ‘fair balance’ between the demands of the public interests and the protection of the fundamental rights of the fur farmers. The 11-year transitional period was not considered as compensation for this form of regulation, since fur farmers were said to endure future damage during the phase-out period. The court furthermore did not consider the accompanying measures as a form of compensation, since the measures were said to lack clarity on the amounts to be paid and who would be likely to qualify.
After an appeal of the Dutch state, in November 2015 the National Court of Appeals ruled the new legislation does take the interest of fur farmers sufficiently into account because of the 11-year changeover period. Besides, the court states that the accompanying measures should be considered as a form of compensation. The judge furthermore states that ECHR jurisprudence shows the loss of future income, which the mink farmers said they would endure during the phase-out period, is not protected by article 1 FP, and adds:
"It cannot have escaped the mink farmers’ attention that the wearing of fur and the keeping of animals"
Thanks to the Fur-Free Alliance.