The Dutch senate on Tuesday passed a ban on mink farming in the Netherlands, the world's third-largest producer of the animal fur, in a ruling that will phase out the industry by 2024. The bill, tabled by both the Labour Party and the Socialist Party, was passed by a majority of lawmakers in a vote of 46 to 29, according to a statement on the senate website.
The Dutch outlawed the breeding of foxes and chinchillas for their fur in 2008. The mink ban was passed by the lower house of parliament earlier this year. "This significant decision will prevent the suffering of millions of fur-bearing animals in the future," Joanna Swabe, Humane Society International's EU director, said in a statement.
"It is truly inspiring that the majority of the Dutch senate has not allowed economics to prevail over ethics, recognising that it is unacceptable and cruel to keep animals in small, wire cages to be killed for their fur." The Netherlands accounted for roughly 9% of the global mink market in 2011, Kopenhagen Fur Auctions said, trailing leaders Denmark and China, which jointly make up slightly more than half.
Around 200 Dutch mink companies produced 4.9 million furs in 2011, compared to 15 million in Denmark and 13.5 million in China, Kopenhagen Fur Auctions said. Dutch mink breeders will be compensated by the government for investments made in their businesses.
The global fur trade was worth about $14 billion in 2010, up from $8.2 billion in 2000, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch)