Man has always used the products of other species and most people recognise our right to do so, provided we behave with respect and responsibility and ensure that natural productivity and habitats are not destroyed.
The fur industry has long recognised that farming techniques and legislation must be based on scientific advice, as regards welfare. Fur farmers themselves aim to ensure that farming systems maintain a high level of animal welfare; it is in their interest after all to breed healthy and content animals, as this is reflected in the condition of the fur.
The farming of animals for fur is one of the most regulated and controlled areas of farming, and as such operates under the highest standards of care. In addition fur farming is covered by the same EU environmental laws covering all EU agricultural sectors.
The main fur producing countries all have their own strictly controlled rules to govern fur farming, but one thing common throughout all, is the governmental insistence that farms are subject to regular veterinary checks and that farms adhere to strict codes of conduct. In America the fur industry works in consultation and accordance with veterinarians, animal scientists, wildlife biologists and farmers. Awards are made to farms that follow a maxim of humane production of fur bearing animals and the award is only given to farms after passing strict, independent inspections.
The Russian fur industry is covered by agricultural and company legislation, as well as specific laws governing the fur trade. In Norway a scheme is in place that involves thirty inspection groups, a vet is assigned to each group and it is their task to visit fur farmers all over the country to check conditions and advise as necessary.
At a European level, a monitoring programme has been introduced by The European Fur Breeders Association, and The International Fur Trade Federation. Launched in 1999, fur farms in Italy, Germany, Ireland and Spain have been checked and advised on the requirements of the Council of Europe.
In comparison to many other areas of animal farming, fur farming is subject to far more stringent checks and controls; the decline in popularity of fur was, in the main, as a result of ignorance towards the industry as a whole. Most people would, I am sure, agree that freedom of choice is something we are all entitled to and the wearing of fur is not a criminal offence. The piece of steak that arrives at your table, is probably the end result of a far rockier road for the animal concerned, then the fur coat belonging to the lady at the next table.