Ban Chinchilla Fur Farming!
The arguments against breeding chinchillas for fur in Croatia:
- TheUnited Kingdom, Austria, Slovenia, the Republic of Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, the Belgian region of Wallonia, the Brazilian state of São Paulo, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have banned fur farming, and the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and New Zealand have partial bans;
- In a report requested by the European Commission in 2001, the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW) concluded that the biggest problems concerning the welfare of animals kept for fur production had been discovered in chinchilla farming;
- Because of the prevalence of disease in farmed chinchillas caused by the farming conditions and cruel killing methods, it is impossible to control chinchilla farming, insure that the producers treat sick animals, and monitor the slaughter. As has been repeatedly pointed out, the Ministry of Agriculture does not have a sufficient number of veterinary inspectors to satisfactorily monitor all other areas of their jurisdiction, making it impossible to carry out inspections of chinchilla farms;
- Chinchillas can be protected only by banning fur farming, because even the best farming methods are not acceptable. The examples from more developed European countries prove that the welfare of animals in fur farming is not achievable. The Netherlands and Sweden banned raising chinchillas for fur because satisfactory conditions of animal welfare in accordance with the EU regulations could not be met on chinchilla farms. Introducing more rigorous regulations which would require bigger cages and other conditions to alleviate the suffering of farmed animals could naturally only lead to the cessation of production. Legalizing chinchilla fur farming in Croatia would sanction a serious violation of the welfare of farmed chinchillas;
- The provisions of the Council of Europe for raising animals for fur, the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes, have not been applied in the EU, including Croatia, although the European Commission clearly states that the Convention's provisions constitute a part of the EU legislation. The attempts to implement the provisions concerning the keeping of chinchillas resulted in shutting down chinchilla farms in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, which proves that improving the conditions of chinchilla farming in accordance with the EU regulations is not economically sustainable;
- The European Union permits the member countries to enforce stricter rules for the protection of animals on their territories, enabling the member countries to completely ban fur farming;
- Breeding animals for fur has been banned since 2007. Breeders' demand to legalize the production and killing of chinchillas for fur, put forward in the eighth year of the ban's ten year phase-out period, makes a mockery of the legislative system of the Republic of Croatia. The demand also ridicules the Animal Protection Act, which will come into effect in a year and a half, because some breeders appear not to have adapted their businesses accordingly. We live in an ordered state with legislation that should be respected, especially considering the fact that the phase-out period is usually significantly shorter. Does the demand to allow chinchilla fur farming not also make light of the breeders who abandoned breeding chinchillas and redirected their production in keeping with the Act and the prescribed phase-out period? The ten year phase-out period is more than adequate to allow chinchilla breeders to transition to other kinds of production, making the breeders' calls for the amendment of the Act, whose regulations they have not been following, unfounded;
- There were over 2000 chinchilla breeders in Croatia when the ban on fur farming was set in place, and chinchillas are currently being kept on only 50 family farms. The production is obviously in decline, and for the majority it is an additional source of income, so there is little reason to legalize the production of chinchillas for fur on account of a few individuals seeking to make a profit;
- The Animal Protection Act should not be altered because of the personal wishes of the individuals who profit from exploiting and killing animals. Instead, amendments should follow the achieved level of animal protection in the European legislature and majority opinion of Croatian citizens. It is unacceptable for 50-something people to dictate and direct the amendment to the Act based on their private interests, which are detrimental to animals;
- Croatian citizens and leading political parties voted against the production of animals for fur in 2006. Croatian citizens do not want chinchilla fur, making such fur an exclusively export product. This leaves Croatia performing the dirty and unethical job of needlessly producing and killing chinchillas, which is increasingly being rejected by other European countries. Encouraging the production of chinchilla fur and derogating a progressive regulation in the phase-out period of the ban on fur farming is unacceptable;
- The demands of 50 individuals are not a valid reason to legalize chinchilla fur farming in Croatia. Millions of Croatian citizens are opposed to such demands. Every civilizational step forward entails economic changes. For example, the abolition of slavery redirected the economy from the exploitation of free labor toward paid labor;
- Chinchilla breeders are not chinchilla lovers nor are by breeding chinchillas saving them from extinction – in their natural habitat, chinchillas are facing extinction because of the greed of some to sell their fur. By farming and killing chinchillas, the breeders are protecting only their interests for profit;
- The processing of fur is detrimental to human health! The workers in the fur industry use dangerous chemicals and are under risk for testicular cancer and other diseases, while the high concentrations of dangerous substances used in pelt processing, such as lead, cyanide and formaldehyde, pollute water, which may cause leukemia in local populations;
- The processing of fur harms the environment, with risks such as toxicity to the aquatic life and air pollution. Improper waste management may cause water pollution;
- Manufacturing a faux fur jacket requires only 1.3 liters of oil, but manufacturing a fur jacket takes 83 liters of oil;
- The World Bank ranks fur processing as one of the world’s five worst industries for heavy-metal pollution;
- The most important reason against farming and killing chinchillas for fur is the ethical inadmissibility of killing innocent creatures in gas chambers, by electric shocks or breaking the necks. The majority of Croatian citizens considers the legalization of such practices on account of 50 individuals in Croatia despicable, unwarranted and ethically unacceptable;
- The awareness of Croatian citizens about the cruelty and needlessness of the fur industry is considerable, and they do not equate killing chinchillas for fur with killing animals in the food industry. More than 73% of Croatian citizens voted against the production and killing of animals for fur in Croatia in 2006;
- In contrast to many other branches of production, no one's livelihood and subsistence depends on fur production. It is an epitome of luxury, breeding and killing of animals for greed, waste of resources, and environmental pollution;
The Croatian Association of Chinchilla Breeders was not registered until 2014, seven years after the beginning of the phase-out period of the ban, which is a flagrant flouting of the Act and indicative of the desire to overturn the ban for the benefit of a handful of breeders;
- The Croatian Association of Chinchilla Breeders is a representative of Wanger Ltd. in Croatia, a Hungarian company which profits from breeding, killing and selling chinchillas. The license they received from the Hungarian company allows them to rate external characteristics of chinchillas and suitability for further breeding. Such license is completely irrelevant from the viewpoint of animal welfare and is of no consequence when making decisions about legalizing chinchilla fur farming in Croatia;
- The global denouncement of fur farming, inconsequentiality of the fur industry for the Croatian economy, support of the local public, politicians, celebrities and fashion industry for the ban on fur farming, and political reputation of Croatia in the European Union and the world mandate keeping the current ban on the production of any animal for fur, including chinchillas, in the Animal Protection Act.
The 2006 Animal Protection Act banned fur farming in Croatia, starting on 1 January 2007, with a ten year phase-out period, which means that it should come into force on 1 January 2017.
The bill was carefully reviewed and passed based on the opinion of the Croatian Chamber of Economy and various arguments confirming the economic and environmental unacceptability of fur farming, as well as the impossibility of insuring animal welfare in the farming process. The proposal of the ban was based on chinchilla breeders' production for Chinchilla d.o.o., a company from Cakovec which was ten years ago the only company in Croatia making profit from the export of chinchilla fur. This was already in significant decline at the time of the passing of the bill, representing an additional grey market in the economy of the Republic of Croatia due to the inability of the veterinary inspections to control farming conditions and frequent complaints of the breeders that the trade in fur was not conducted in a completely legal manner.
Compared to ten year ago, chinchilla farming today is negligible, and the significance of this industry for Croatia is more marginal than ever – at the time of the passing of the ban on fur farming, there were more than 2000 chinchilla breeders in Croatia, while only about 50 remain today. This piece of data alone confirms that chinchilla farming holds importance only for a small number of individuals seeking to make a profit, which necessitates that the ban remain in effect.
The Croatian Association of Chinchilla Breeders was not registered until 2014, seven years after the beginning of the phase-out period of the ban, which is a flagrant flouting of the Act and indicative of the desire to overturn the ban for the benefit of a handful of breeders. The demand of the Association of Croatian Chinchilla Breeders is motivated by the personal interest of an individual acting as a representative for the Hungarian company Wanger Ltd. in Croatia, which profits from the production, killing and trade in chinchillas. It is unforgivable that some breeders have kept breeding chinchillas after 2007, when the Act came into effect, in spite of the ban and the prescribed phase-out period.
It is worth repeating that the proposal of the ban on fur farming was in 2006 supported by the MPs of all important political parties in Croatia, and the regulation was cited as one of the most progressive legislations and a large step forward for Croatia in Europe and the world.
The demand of the Association of Croatian Chinchilla Breeders to legalize chinchilla fur farming in Croatia is completely groundless. It is important to emphasize that chinchilla farming is virtually the only form of fur farming in Croatia, which is the reason why the imminent ban on fur farming concerns primarily the farming of chinchillas.
The aim of the Animal Protection Act is not to cater to the companies and individuals who profit from breeding and killing animals, but to prescribe the protection of animals in accordance with the existing regulations on animal welfare in other countries and moral awareness of Croatian citizens. The ten year phase-out period was more than sufficient to allow chinchilla breeders, for whom the farming of chinchillas generally represents an additional source of income, to transition to other kinds of production. Their calls for the amendment of the Act a year and a half before its coming into force is motivated only by their own failure to observe the Act.
Bans on fur farming
Fur farming is banned in the United Kingdom, Austria, Slovenia, the Republic of Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, the Belgian region of Wallonia, the Brazilian state of São Paulo, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and New Zealand have partial bans.
Fur farming has been banned in Austria since 2004 and the UK since the beginning of 2003, and they have no fur farms. The UK was the first European country to enforce the ban on ethical grounds in spite of producing an annual average of 1.3 million mink pelts.
In 2013, 95% of Slovenian MPs voted in favor of the ban on fur farming, with a two year phase-out period, which raises the question of why Croatian breeders are not able to honor the ten year phase-out period. In Slovenia, the ban came into effect on 1 January 2015 and entails a ban on breeding and hunting animals for pelts, skins and feathers.
The Republic of Macedonia passed a new Animal Protection Act on 13 October 2014, banning the farming of animals for pelts, skins and feathers.
The Netherlands, the second largest mink producer in the EU with the annual production of 5.5 million pelts, effectively banned fur farming by the decision to phase out the breeding and killing of mink in December 2012. The ban came into effect on 4 January 2013 with a ten year phase-out period. The Court of the Netherlands suspended the ban in 2014 due to the complaints from fur farmers. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs appealed the ruling, and the Supreme Court judgment is expected in June 2015.
Fox fur farming was banned in the Netherlands in 1995, when there were 35 fox breeders. Chinchilla fur farming was banned in the Netherlands in 1997, also due to the failure to meet adequate conditions of animal welfare on the farms, and the bans came into force in 2008.
Sweden stopped farming foxes for fur in 1995 via amendments to its Animal Welfare Act, which requires keeping foxes in a way that does not impede natural behaviors, such as digging holes and socializing with other foxes. The amendment rendered fox farming economically unviable and all Swedish fox farms had shut down by 2000, even though the fur farmers had the option to adapt to the stricter conditions until 2010.
In 2010, the Swedish Government instructed the Swedish Board of Agriculture to draw up an assessment of chinchilla farming. In its report, the Board of Agriculture revealed the non-compliance of chinchilla farmers with the requirements of the Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes of 1999 regarding cage area and equipment, litter, nesting boxes and possible activities. The evaluations by animal welfare inspections and veterinarians in recent years revealed that chinchillas were being kept in exceedingly bad conditions on Swedish farms. Some of the biggest problems were: bad air quality, incapacity for active life, lack of food, stereotypical behavior, and female chinchillas who had to wear polygamous collars around their necks for up to nine consecutive years. The stricter 2012 regulation, in force since 2014, effectively closed down the last chinchilla farms in October 2014. The remaining 243 chinchillas were accommodated by the animal rights organization Djurrättsalliansen.
Fur farming has been banned in the German federal states of Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Schleswig-Holstein. In 2009, Germany adopted new regulations relating to fur farming, which require bigger cages. The Regulation on Fur Farming which will come into force in 2016 will also require the provision of swimming water for mink, increase of the minimal cage space, digging areas for foxes and raccoons, and special requirements for every animal species, including chinchillas. The stricter regulations are expected to effectively end fur farming in Germany and result in a total ban.
Northern Ireland has banned fur farming. Vigorous public campaigns have been lead particularly since 2014 to ban fur farming in the Republic of Ireland.
In January 2015, the Belgian region of Wallonia banned fur farming. The Brussels-Capital region followed the example of Wallonia and is in the process of implementing the new legal frame.
Denmark banned farming foxes for fur in 2009, with a phase-out period until 2017 for most of the farmers and 2023 for the two top producers.
Croatian neighboring countries have also introduced bans.
The 2009 Animal Welfare Act banned keeping, raising, importing, exporting and killing animals for fur and leather in Serbia, with a phase-out period until 2019. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 2009 Animal Welfare and Protection Act banned keeping animals for fur, with a phase-out period until 2018.
In 2001, Italy adopted strict regulations on the welfare of animals farmed for fur, and strict regulations for farming mink were introduced in 2008. The eradication of fur farming is the anticipated consequence.
As for other countries, mink farming is banned in New Zealand. Swiss legislation only permits keeping animals for fur in the conditions comparable to zoos, which is the reason why there are no fur farms in Switzerland.
In October 2014, the governor of the Brazilian state of São Paulo imposed a ban on fur farming. The legislation protects rabbits, foxes, mink, badgers, seals, coyotes, squirrels, and especially chinchillas, all animals which are extensively farmed in Brazil. The legislation imposes penalties for illegal farming. In case of the second offence, the penalties are doubled.
In Bulgaria, the existing legislation can be interpreted as an indirect ban on fur farming based on the Biodiversity Act.
The abovementioned examples and practice of other countries prove that it is impossible to achieve animal protection and welfare in fur farming, and the introduction of stricter regulations which require bigger cages and other conditions to decrease suffering in farmed animals can lead only to the cessation of production. The ban on fur farming is the only logical solution to regulate this issue.
The EU legislation
On 22 June 1999, the Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes of the Council of Europe adopted the Recommendation concerning Fur Animals. The implementation of the recommendations concerning keeping chinchillas, e. g. in relation to the height of the cages, resulted in the closure of chinchilla farms in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.
In the 2001 Report, the European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW) concluded that the current husbandry systems in the fur industry "cause[d] serious problems for all species of animals reared for fur," and emphasized that the biggest problems concerning animal welfare were observed in chinchilla fur farming. The Report offers a scientific evaluation of the welfare of animals kept for fur production and the scientifically based recommendations to improve their welfare, and stresses the lack of research on the welfare of chinchillas in farming conditions.
The recommendations have to date not been implemented in fur farming in the EU, including Croatia, although the European Commission is unambiguous in its position that the Convention and Recommendation comprise a part of the EU legislation. This is clearly stated in the answer of Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, to a question regarding the fur farming ban in February 2015: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-011036&language=EN.
Commissioner Andriukaitis stated that Council Directive 98/58/EC concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes also applied to fur farming, and that the "directive allows Member States to apply within their territories stricter rules for the protection of animals provided that they are in compliance with the general rules of the EU Treaties."
Chinchilla farming in Croatia
At present, there are only about 50 chinchilla breeders in Croatia. In contrast, at the time of the passing of the ban, there were over 2000.
Most chinchilla breeders do not have registered businesses. The animals are kept in repurposed sheds, workshops, shacks, cellars, attics, garages, barns, or barracks, rendering veterinary inspections unfeasible. Even if regulations to control farming conditions were put in place, the lack of veterinary inspectors and size of the black market would prevent any possibility of controlling farming conditions.
Chinchilla farming is not a significant branch of the Croatian economy, it does not provide livelihood for any significant number of households, nor is it comparable to cattle farming or other branches of economy. 50 chinchilla breeders cannot be an argument for preserving such a line of production in a country with several million inhabitants – taking into consideration the population of Croatia, it is an exceedingly small percentage of people, whose livelihood does not depend on chinchilla fur farming. The ten year phase-out period was more than sufficient to allow the chinchilla breeders to transition to other kinds of production, giving them no grounds for calling for amendments of the Act whose regulations they have not been observing.
The breeders’ claims that they are saving chinchillas from extinction are nonsensical and illogical because the sole purpose of chinchilla farming is killing chinchillas and profiting from their pelts. Chinchilla breeders are not saving or protecting chinchillas, but are protecting their own interests and saving fur coats on which they profit. Chinchillas can be protected only by preserving their habitats, which is not what the breeders are doing. On the contrary, wild chinchillas have been driven to the brink of extinction by the greed for their pelts, and are protected by law in Chile.
The Swedish, German and Dutch examples testify about the unfeasibility of promoting animal welfare on farms and economic unsustainability of improving farming conditions. Croatian chinchilla breeders cannot be expected to follow the requirements of the Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes of 1999 regarding cage size and equipment, litter, nesting boxes, and possible activity of chinchillas. This was confirmed by the veterinary inspections and veterinarians in countries such as Sweden, which is by far more economically developed and organized than Croatia. Lifting the ban on chinchilla fur farming would therefore legalize serious violations of the welfare of farmed chinchillas.
The welfare and protection of chinchillas and other animals in fur farming
In spite of trying to project the image of animal lovers and saviors of chinchillas, chinchilla breeders are not keeping their chinchillas as pets, but exclusively to profit on their deaths and skinned pelts. Chinchilla farming means imprisoning chinchillas in small cages for the duration of their short lives, until the terrifying agony of slaughter. It does not entail the love of animals; it is a bloody business concerned only with profit.
The examples from the European countries which have already regulated the production of fur clearly show that the producers have not been able to provide farmed animals with adequate conditions, and that their welfare is sorely neglected. The most pressing issues in chinchilla farming are cramped cages and the incapacity for normal behavior of the animals, the lack of the nesting boxes, limited access to sand baths, large plastic collars worn by females which impede their movements, and insufficient cage space for jumping.
Chinchillas are social animals who in nature live in burrows, while in production spend their whole short lives trapped in small wire cages with insufficient space for physical activity and manifesting the species-specific behaviors. Chinchillas are very sociable and live in colonies consisting of 100 or more individuals, which is given no regard in farm production. Chinchillas have long hind legs adapted for jumping. They can perform jumps higher than 1.8 meter, and chinchillas kept as pets have been known to jump onto refrigerators. Since chinchillas are wild animals who jump when alarmed or during locomotion, cages of insufficient height can cause injuries if animals hit the roof of the cage with their heads.
Chinchillas are known to be extremely sensitive. Captivity, monotonous environment, and the lack of stimuli do not provide for the fulfilment of their psychological needs. The keeping and farming conditions of chinchillas result in abnormal stereotypical behavior, fearfulness, reproductive disorders, and high pup mortality.
Routine stereotypical behavior is common in the fur farming of chinchillas and other animals, such as endless repetition of actions and movements in the cage, refusal of food, self-mutilation, mutual harming (pelt biting, ear biting and harming, eye gouging, tail biting), and may result in painful injuries. It is caused by boredom, stress, overcrowding, the lack of stimuli, unbalanced diet, and noise. Even the best farming conditions have not been successful in managing the problem.
Although the fur industry claims that the abovementioned stereotypical behaviors can be alleviated by (minimally) enriching the cages, thevideo footage of the investigations of fur farms in Denmark, Finland, and the Czech Republic proves that abnormal behaviors and self-mutilation are still widespread on fur farms in the EU. In 2009 and 2010, the Danish organization Anima released footage from Danish fur farms which documented animals with gaping wounds, animals that exhibited stereotypical behavior and cannibalism, and general neglect. The following footage was filmed at a farm at which more than 100 injured animals had been discovered: http://vimeo.com/20575309. The footage of the Finish organization Oikeutta Eläimille shows animal suffering on 83 fur farms: animals without legs, the young eating their dead brothers and sisters, terrible cuts and wounds, stereotypical behavior, cannibalism, crippled animals, serious eye infections, gum infections, and rotting bodies covered in worms left in cages with live animals – https://youtu.be/rMORFQRy-zg. Two of the farms from the video are owned by the board members of the Finnish Fur Breeders' Association! The organization Svoboda Zvířat published footage of neglect and poor conditions on Czech fur farms in 2013, 2014, and 2015: https://youtu.be/VkPnE_i9F1o.
It should be noted that chinchillas who passively sit or lie in their cages are not necessarily calm or agreeable. In the ethological sense, the absence of normal behavior may be an indicator of poor welfare, especially in chinchillas, who are naturally social animals and live in communities.
Although chinchillas are monogamous in nature, i.e. they mate for life, in the fur farming conditions they are forced to mate with multiple partners. Farmed chinchillas are separated in cages, with only the males allowed movement, and then only to the female cages to inseminate the females. Farmers install collars around the necks of females that are wider than the passage, so they are unable to leave their cages through the passage for males. Chinchillas are able to absorb the fetus into their blood or lymphatic system if they are exposed to frequent noise, fear or unsuitable diet.
Diseases in farmed chinchillas
Common diseases in chinchilla farming are infective skin diseases; yeast infections; abnormal development of teeth caused by malnutrition; mastitis, which causes a reduction or end of milk production and may lead mothers to kill their young; metritis, an acute infection of the uterus caused by giving birth, etc. Pup mortality caused by pneumonia, malnutrition, listeriosis, and infections is high.
Gastrointestinal disease is the most common cause of death in chinchillas. In nature, chinchilla diet includes fresh mountain plants, but farmed chinchillas are mostly fed complete livestock feed. Chinchillas are especially sensitive to spoiled feed and stale water. If they are not given fresh water daily they may develop complications of the digestive system. Moldy feed may cause disease and death. High mortality rate is due to gastroenteritis, caused by stress, bad hygiene, vitamin deficiency, stale feed, dirty water, or contaminated feed, and manifesting in the loss of appetite, apathy, and sudden death. Bloating due to the change of the feed and lack of some bacteria causes the animals to restlessly lie in their cages with outstretched legs, obviously in pain.
Listeriosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria which attacks the nervous system, resulting in cramps, blindness and prolapse of the rectum. The symptoms are apathy and loss of appetite, and the animal will crouch and make painful whining noises. Hemorrhagic septicaemia is an infective disease whose symptoms include pneumonia, coughing, diarrhea, and apathy. The disease develops because of the sudden changes in the environment, overcrowding, and stress.
Mites from the Sarcoptes family cause mange, which destroys fur. Chinchillas may develop fungal fur infection if their fur gets wet, which can spread quickly through the fur farm.
Killing of chinchillas
Death by gas can be preceded by gasping, muscle spasms and painful vocalization. Other killing methods are 5 ml injections of 40% chloral hydrate solution into the abdominal cavity and electrocution (using electrodes inserted in the mouth and rectum).
The footage by French activists from 2003 shows breeders on five Croatian chinchilla farms killing chinchillas in especially cruel ways, by electrocution, gas or breaking the neck. The breeders killed the animals by attaching metal clamps to their legs and noses and connecting them to a transformer. The chinchillas screamed in pain, kept moving for a minute and a half after the electric shock, and would usually take two minutes to die. Then they were skinned.
Croatian breeders now claim to kill chinchillas by gas. It is unnecessary to point out the cruelty in killing chinchillas by high concentrations of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide (pure source), or carbon monoxide combined with other gasses. Death by carbon monoxide is not considered to be an acceptable method of killing fur animals because there are concerns about the reliability of the CO concentration, use of contaminated exhaust gases, ability of animals to detect hypoxia, and the long periods until the gassed animals become insensitive. There are also concerns about the impact of CO on human health and safety. The aversion to carbon dioxide and practical difficulties in achieving reliably high concentrations of the gas in gas chambers are some of the reasons why CO2 is unacceptable for the mass slaughter of fur animals.
However, the most important reason why chinchillas should not be kept and killed for their fur is the ethical problem of killing innocent animals in gas chambers, by electric shocks or breaking the necks. The majority of Croatian citizens finds legalization of such practices because of the interests of 50 individuals in Croatia revolting, perverse and morally unacceptable.
Taking into consideration the prevalence of disease in chinchillas caused by farming conditions and cruel killing methods, it is evident that the farming process cannot be monitored, the treatment of sick animals insured, nor the killing supervised. Even the best farming conditions would not be satisfactory, making the ban on fur farming the only way to protect chinchillas.
The environmental consequences of fur farming and risks to human health
Fur producers are wont to present fur as a "natural" product, but in reality it requires a lot of processing, transport and additives to make it wearable.
After the pelts have been removed, the fur will start to rot if not chemically treated to prevent rotting. The main chemicals in use are formaldehyde (linked to leukemia) and chromium (linked to cancer), which may affect the health of the people wearing fur and employees in the processing plants. The soup of toxic chemicals used in the processing and proofing of raw pelts includes surface active substances and oils, solvents, acids, tannins, biocides, fungicides, dyes and bleaches.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined six fur processing plants for causing high levels of pollution and using solvents which "may cause respiratory problems and are listed as possible carcinogens." If such chemicals leak into water, which is often the case, the consequences may be devastating.
The often cited University of Michigan study of 1979 found that manufacturing a fur coat consumes 20 times more energy than its faux fur counterpart. A 2011 study by CE Delft, a Dutch consulting company, compared the impact of fur and textiles in 18 environmental categories, including climate change, ozone depletion, soil acidity, and water and land requirements. In 17 of 18 environmental effects, fur was found to have a much higher impact than textiles.
Although synthetic faux fur is made from petroleum oil, the production of a faux fur coat requires only 1.3 liters of oil, while it takes 83 liters of oil to produce the energy necessary for one fur coat. If only 10% of the three million fur articles of clothing were to be replaced with the alternatives, it would on average save 19 million liters of oil and five million animal lives.
The IPPC Directive of the European Commission concerning integrated pollution prevention and control recognized the tanning industry as "a potentially pollution-intensive industry." In December 2007, one of the fur trade’s publications, The Trapper & Predator Caller, reported that China was considering imposing a punitive tax on the fur dressing and tanning industries as a part of an attempt to penalize "industries causing excessive pollution."
The tanning process stabilizes the collagen or protein fibers so that the hide ceases to biodegrade. Workers in the fur production industry are under risk of acute and chronic effects ranging from the irritation of skin and eyes to cancer, and even death. They use the carcinogenic trivalent or hexavalent chromium, which increases the risk of testicular cancer, while high concentrations of dangerous substances used in rawhide processing, such as lead, cyanide, and formaldehyde result in water pollution, which may cause leukemia in local populations. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all chromium-containing chemicals are considered hazardous and dangerous. The risks to the environment include toxicity to aquatic organisms and air pollution. Improper waste management can lead to water contamination. According to a study by the New York state Department of Health, more than half testicular cancer victims had worked in tanneries.
This has lead the World Bank to rank the fur industry as one of the world's five worst industries for toxic-metal pollution.
Croatia does not support fur farming
Finally, the awareness of Croatian citizens about the cruelty and unnecessity of the fur industry is significant, which means that they do not equate killing chinchillas for fur and killing in the food industry. More than 73% of Croatian citizens is opposed to the farming and killing of animals for fur in Croatia.
The calls for the chinchilla exception in the present ban on fur farming in the Animal Protection Act ridicule the Act, because it is clear that no other animal except chinchillas is farmed for fur on merely 50 farms in Croatia. The popular opinion, leading political parties and the Government passed the ban at the time when the chinchilla fur industry in Croatia was much larger.
In recent years, fur has decisively fallen from favor for being environmentally and morally unacceptable in the 21st century. We are of the opinion that the global judgment of fur farming, inconsequentiality of the fur industry for the Croatian economy, support of the Croatian public, politicians, celebrities and fashion industry for the ban on fur farming, and the political standing of Croatia in the EU and world necessitate retaining in the Animal Protection Act the existent ban on farming any animal for fur, including chinchillas.
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