During a panel debate on ‘Science and Animal Welfare’ arranged by Public Affairs agency Euraffex, a representative from Eurogroup for Animals extended an invitation to Fur Europe to discuss the science-based animal welfare assessment system WelFur. The invitation was a reaction to a criticism coming from panellist and CEO of Fur Europe, Mette Lykke Nielsen, who criticised Eurogroup for Animals for refusing to discuss WelFur on numerous occasions.
Already in 2011, Eurogroup for Animals refused the invitation to take seat as external stakeholder in the development of WelFur. Later the animal lobby group has refused an invitation to debate publicly in the European Parliament.
On the other hand Eurogroup has launched various fur reports in the European Parliament written by vegan activist groups, and as the secretariat of the Intergroup on Animal Welfare Eurogroup for Animals arranged a WelFur discussion, but did not invite the fur sector to take part in the discussion.
Now however, it seems as though Eurogroup for Animals has changed its mind, but Fur Europe CEO Mette Lykke Nielsen is somewhat sceptical:
“There has never been the slightest opening in the past, so it is easy to suspect that Monday’s invitation was a slip of the tongue. We will give Eurogroup the benefit of the doubt and see if they in fact want to talk seriously,” Mette Lykke Nielsen says.
She says that even if Eurogroup keeps their word and invites Fur Europe to talk she doubts the EU animal lobby body will change their anti-fur stance. She refers to their long record of refusals as well as ignorance towards existing scientific research.
“Eurogroup for Animals promotes fur reports in the European Parliament – which are written by vegan animal activists who have been convicted for libel against fur farmers – and calls it scientific research. I am afraid Eurogroup mistakes their values with science, but we are of course interested in finding if they are able to put more than slogans on the table when we meet,” Mette Lykke Nielsen says.
During Monday’s panel debate she also criticised the European animal lobby’s new Cage Free EU for being incredibly populistic, even though fur farming is not a campaign target.
“Animal welfare is a profoundly complex matter. This campaign seeks to boil the debate down to two ideas: ‘confinement is bad’ and ‘free-range is good’ and that is a detestable way to discuss animal welfare. The mortality amongst free-range chickens are for example much higher than in traditional housing systems. This campaign promotes ideology while disregarding both scientific knowledge and animals.