Breeding of Animals for Fur and Transitional Period
The ban on breeding animals for fur production was adopted with ten years of the transitional period. Further extension of the transitional period would mean misleading the general public and it would be an unjust and unnecessary move.
The ban on breeding animals for fur in Croatia was adopted by the Animal Protection Act in 2006. The decision was issued almost unanimously and it was supported by more than 73 percent of Croatian citizens. The discussion was focused primarily on the length of the transitional period, whether it will be five, seven or ten years. Extremely long ten-year transitional period was enacted, which expires on January 1, 2017. The extension of the transitional period would constitute a violation of human and animal rights and negate the very essence of functioning of the state of law.
Damage for farmers who have stopped production
Most breeders of chinchillas for fur respected the law and the transitional period, and shifted their business after a few years. A small number of breeders deliberately ignored the legal provision, or the transitional period, and seven years after the beginning of the transitional period set out the initiative of disrespect for the Act and its abolition. According to some breeders' media releases, some of them have even deliberately started or expanded their production before the end of the transitional period, which indicates a deliberate intent opposite of those of the Act.
Legal provisions apply equally to all, and all of them should be equally enforced. By extending the transitional period, few breeders, who impose to Croatia the idea of legislative chaos and anarchy, where everyone tricks the legal provisions for their own interests, would be favored. Also, by extending the transitional period Croatia would let know to the breeders who have stopped breeding that they were wrong when they operated in accordance with the Act. The Animal Protection Act has no intention to give a preferential treatment to companies and individuals who profit from breeding and killing of animals, but it prescribes the protection of animals in accordance with the previously achieved regulations on the protection of animals in other countries and the ethical awareness of their citizens. Other countries serve as an example to show that the transitional period is being respected as a reasonably prescribed time limit for breeders.
The Ministry of Agriculture does not have the exact number of the remaining chinchilla breeders, but in its official oral and written communications states a number of about 50 chinchilla breeders (compared to more than 2,000 of them at a time when the ban on breeding was adopted). The number of 50 remaining breeders is not official data of the Ministry of Agriculture, but the data provided by the breeders themselves.
Damage for chinchillas
The Netherlands banned breeding of chinchillas for fur in 1997 due to the inability to achieve adequate conditions for the welfare of chinchillas, ethical reasons and the will of the citizens, with a transitional period of ten years, and it had a significantly greater number of breeders and the entire industry was larger.
The opinions of veterinarians and other animal experts say that it is impossible to ensure the welfare of chinchillas that are being bred.
By extending the transitional period the remaining breeders would be allowed to continue with the cruel practice which is ethically unacceptable and it causes suffering to a large number of animals.
Croatian citizens object to the extension of the transitional period
As the leading European countries are banning breeding of animals for fur, by extending the transitional period Croatia would set a precedent in the opposite direction. The production of chinchilla fur in Croatia is much lower when compared to the time when the ban on breeding was adopted and there is no reason to extend the transitional period.
The production of fur is of no importance in meeting basic human needs, and the popularity of fur is in decline over the years. The majority of the Croatian and other European citizens believe that it is not ethically justified to breed and kill animals for fur production and they strongly object to the extension of the transitional period. Also, veterinarians, experts, politicians, civil society associations, the fashion industry and celebrities in Croatia support the keeping of the ban on breeding of animals for fur production purposes, without extending an already long transitional period.
Mocking the legislation and the transfer of responsibility
The fact that most of the breeders shifted after a few years, and that the remaining minority deliberately disregards the transitional period is proof that ten years was more than enough and that there is no basis in applying for extension.
In addition, the extension of the transitional period would mean the transfer of the responsibility to another government in the second mandate, as well as the encouragement of all of the those who have deliberately decided to disrespect the law. This would send out the message that there may be a new possibility for the abolition of the act, which is inadmissible by the Croatian legislation, the citizens, as well as the animals that should be protected by the Act, and it is not in accordance with the provisions already enforced.
Therefore, it is important to protect the existing legal provision that includes an already defined transitional period and to prevent further manipulation of the legal provisions.