Norwegian Fur Farming Ban is Political Horse-Trading

January 17, 2018 - In spite of an expert committee recommending the sustainable development of fur farming in Norway, a ban is underway as a result of a political horse-trade to include an anti-fur party in the new government.

The political programme of the new Norwegian government formed between the Conservatives, the Liberals and the Progress Party contains the phasing out of fur farming in Norway by 2025. Both Conservatives and the Progressive Party have historically supported the fur farming sector, but agreed to shut down the Norwegian fur farming sector as a part of a deal to broaden the two-party minority government by adding the anti-fur Liberal party.

“It is hard to respect the decision to put a ban in the political programme. Norway wants to shut down an entire industry as a part of a political horse-trade while still acknowledging that the animals are kept with respect to good animal welfare. Real families are going to suffer from a political deal without any other substance than keeping politicians in power a little while longer,” Mette Lykke Nielsen, CEO of Fur Europe says. She stresses that the parliament has not yet treated a proposal and hopes members of the Conservatives and the Progress Party will object to the ban proposal and stick to the promise they made to the sector less than one year ago.

Minister of Agriculture Jon Georg Dal, the Progressive Party, says to international media that shutting down the Norwegian fur farms was the biggest loss to the party during the negotiations.

“My job is now to carry through with this in a way that makes sure the farmers are given sufficient time and compensation in the phase-out-period,” the minister says.

The Norwegian Fur Breeders’ Association is shocked by the statement in the political programme. They feel like victims of political horse-trading, and Norwegian media has reported that the livelihood of about 200 Norwegian families will disappear with the suggested ban. The Norwegian Fur Breeders’ Association however stresses that a proposal has yet to be put forward to the parliament, and political voices against the ban are already being raised.

The Conservatives’ Youth Party says that the shutting down of approx. 250 mink and fox farms is a huge loss for the economy and the rural areas of Norway, and points out the environmental advantages of a fur sector that consumes 50,000 tonnes of waste products from fish- and poultry industries, while contributing to the production of bio products.

In a parliament vote one year ago, the ruling Conservative and Progress parties both supported the sustainable development of fur farming in Norway. The parliamentary support followed the recommendations of an expert committee that had thoroughly examined all parts of the Norwegian fur farming sector, and new animal welfare regulation was about to be introduced.