Fur farms likely to be banned

A draft law has passed the Senate but still needs the president's signature

Under a draft law, it will be illegal to raise animals solely for the purpose of obtaining fur. The Senate approved the ban on fur farms starting at the end of January 2019 without change. The draft law now goes to President Miloš Zeman for his signature. The bill was passed by the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, on June 7.

The time limit to shut down the farms has not been extended and no additional compensation over what was in the lower house version will be paid to breeders, as had been proposed by some senators.

The amendment will ban the rearing and killing of animals solely or principally for the purpose of obtaining fur. It concerns breeding foxes and mink, but not for example rabbits or nutria (coypu).

The law was proposed in the lower house by Deputy Robin Böhnisch (ČSSD).

He praised politicians when the draft law passed the lower house. “This is a victory that proves that killing animals for fashion’s sake is no longer supported among Czech politicians. It is also a victory for the civic initiatives that helped the Parliamentary Deputies come to this point of view. I am happy to see this barbaric practice end in the Czech Republic and I hope that our legislators will set an example for their colleagues in other countries where fur farming bans are currently being discussed,” he said in June.

Some 46,000 people signed petitions against fur farming, which helped to spur politicians to support the ban.

The law will allow farm operators the right to compensation from the state for the disruption of their business. The compensation is intended to enable the fur farmers to meet their long-term financial obligations. The Agriculture Ministry will assess the compensation based on unpaid obligations and the market value of the farming property. Claims must be based on business started before the end of June.

The amount of the compensation should not exceed the annual net gain of the fur farmer over the last five years.

The Senate had considered extending the deadline to shut farms to 2022.

If the law is signed, the Czech Republic will join 12 European countries that have already passed bans or have implemented stricter regulations that results in the phasing out of fur farming, according to anti-fur advocates. A public opinion survey by the agency Focus found 83 percent of the Czech population agrees with a law to prohibit fur farming.

There are nine fur farms in Czech breeding mink and foxes, with about 20,000 animals in small battery cages. The total compensation should reach some Kč 50 million. Breeders claim this amount is too low and may seek to have the law overturned in court.

Opponents of the law claim that it will lead to illegal breeding where conditions are worse than now, and that the industry will simply more to other countries like Poland and Norway.

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