Fur farmers plead to stay in business

Mink fur farmers cageMink are kept in small cages to satisfy the demand of the fur industry. A ban is proposed on all fur farming in Norway. Photo: Alf Ove Hansen / Scanpix

Fur farmers plead the parliament to thwart the government

“It is not yet too late to stop this ban,” the Norwegian Fur Farmers Association (Norges Pelsdyralslag) asserts during the Norwegian Parliament hearing on the bill that will liquidate the fur animal industry.


“Never before have laws been thought up that intent to ban any single profitable industry. This proposal is based on feelings and is the result of a power game in closed rooms. The losers are over 200 Norwegian families who were promised a sustainable future as late as in 2017,” Leader of the Norwegian Fur Farmers Association, Bertran Trane Skadsem, thunders.

There is an open consultation in the industry committee on the Norwegian government’s controversial proposal for how to liquidate the fur animal industry. It is proposed to prohibit fur farming immediately, albeit with a winding-up period until February 1st, 2025 for those who are engaged in fur animal husbandry at present.

“The bill is weakly investigated, and based on outdated legal principles. The basis for the compensation scheme is too poor, and as it is proposed today, fur farmers will end up with huge, lifelong debts,” Skadsem states during the hearing.

“All this based on a game where politicians sacrifice farmers and principles for power. Only those who have a say in this hall can make up for this injustice,” he continues in an insert addressed to the politicians of the Industry Committee.

A breakthrough for the Liberals

There is also resistance to prohibiting fur farming within the government. the Progress Party, Conservatives and Christian Democrat all wish to retain the industry. The Liberals were, however, successful regarding a fur farming ban both in the Jeløya and the Granavolden platform.

Thus, it is up to Minister of Agriculture and Food, Olaug Bollestad (Christian Democrats), to continue the work on the proposal, even though she hails from Norway’s largest fur farm herself, and represents a party that wants to retain the industry.

The disagreement became apparent during the hearing, where Morten Ørsal Johansen (Progress Party) called it «a dubious honour» to chair this issue.

 


Demands compensation in full

If they do not succeed in stopping the ban, the secondary demand of the fur farmers is to be compensated in full for the losses incurred by being forced to discontinue.

The Norwegian Government presented a revised proposition on prohibiting fur farming earlier this year, where the compensation scheme was somewhat improved – compared with the original proposal. This is based on written consultation input.

Individual considerations must, among other things, be taken into account in the assessment of compensation, and the framework for the restructuring package. The compensation farmers are granted – in order to give up their present livelihood – was increased from NOK 50 to 100 million.

Skadsem believes the proposal is almost as bad as what the government presented earlier.

Wants speedier liquidation

Leader of Animal Protection Norway, Åshild Roaldset, also expresses concern about the future of fur farmers after the ban, even though she believes it is high time that the industry is discontinued.

“There is a clear connection between farmers’ concerns about their own finances and depression. If the farmers are not taken care of when we talk about animal welfare, it will be difficult for us, as well,” Roaldset states during the hearing.

Animal Protection Norway (Dyrebeskyttelsen) believes that faster liquidation will lead to better predictability for those who are still in the industry.

“Both the welfare of the animals and the fur farmers must be safeguarded throughout,” Roaldset concludes.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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