After a decade-long fight animal advocates in Estonia claim a historic victory. The Estonian Parliament Riigikogu banned fur farming becoming the first Baltic state to do so.
All fur farms in Estonia will have to shut down until January 2026. The biggest fur farm in Estonia Balti Karusnahk AS that used to have about 160 000 animals is already empty.
The bill of amendments to the Animal Protection Act and Nature Conservation Act prohibits the breeding and keeping of animals in Estonia to obtain fur in farms where fur production is the sole or main purpose. The ban does not threaten breeders of animals such as sheep or rabbits.
Annaliisa Post, head of communications of animal welfare organisation Loomus, said: "We have been working for this for years and we are extremely pleased that Estonia became the first Baltic state to ban fur farms. With this decision, we are setting an example both for neighbouring countries and in the wider world. No animal should suffer for human vanity and we are grateful to the members of the Riigikogu for making an animal-friendly decision."
Animal welfare groups have been fighting for the ban since 2009 when the issue was first raised in the Riigikogu. During the initial vote on May 10, 2017, the bill was rejected in the first reading with 49 votes in favour and 24 against. The second time it was voted on at the beginning of 2019, the bill was rejected by 28 votes to 25. The latest vote was the third attempt to ban fur in the country with 55 members out of 101 voting in favour of the bill.
According to the latest studies, Estonian people support the ban. Kantar Emor report from September 2020 showed that 75% of people living in Estonia are not in favour of raising and killing animals for fur.
Estonia joins other European countries that banned fur farms including the United Kingdom, Austria, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Luxembourg, Serbia, Czechia and the Netherlands.