Twenty lawmakers from across the political spectrum are backing a proposal to ban fur farms in the Czech Republic. The draft bill envisages a ban on the setting up of new fur farms as of 2017 and would force existing ones to close a year after that. But the ban would not affect rabbit farms where the fur is a by-product.
There are currently nine fur farms in the Czech Republic which mainly breed foxes and mink in what activists say are atrocious conditions. Now, some 20 Czech lawmakers want that to change preparing a new draft bill they hope will succeed where previous proposals failed. Opinion surveys suggest they are not alone in their aims and that a majority of Czechs would support such a ban. One of those involved in the draft bill is former justice minister now Euro MP Jiří Pospíšil. Speaking to Czech Radio’s flagship station, Radiožurnál, he voiced the opinion that fur farming had no place in the 21st century:
“My opinion, and I say this as Jiří Pospíšil - not as a politician, is that the breeding and killing of animals strictly to be used in fashion is immoral and unethical. Current Czech legislation makes clear that animals are creatures that feel and are not to be treated like material objects, like money, like a piece of furniture and so on. Today, half the European Union has either already enforced bans, or at the very least is debating the issue.”
But critics charge that a full ban on fur farming in the country is a step too far, representing unwarranted interference in private or commercial enterprise. ANO deputy party leader Jan Volný, Czech Radio reported, holds the view that fur farms in the country need to respect legislation but is against an outright ban. Animal rights activists, such as Ochrana, have long advocated a complete ban. Regarding private enterprise, MEP Jiří Pospíšil explains that the draft bill is counting on compensation for companies who would find themselves out of business. The MEP again:
“The proposal states clearly that if we ban the framing of mink and foxes for fur, the ministry will compensate companies for the cost of their investment. The concrete investments are not all that high, in the millions. Also, there would be a transition period up until 2018. I think it is worth it, ethically, to prevent 20,000 foxes and minks from being slaughtered in this country each year.”
Countries the Czech Republic would join if a full ban finds support in Parliament and is enforced? Great Britain, Austria and Croatia.