Norway is set to become the first Nordic country to ban fur industries, as it plans to close all fox and mink farms by 2025.
The pledge was made by Norway’s Conservative Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, after partners in the country’s new three-part coalition government discussed the terms of their collaboration last week.
Norway’s Liberal Party, which is the new and smallest party in the coalition, has been credited for pushing the initiative. Norway is now the 14th European country to phase out fur farming.
The move was welcomed by animal protection charities. “This is a fantastic victory for the fight to stop the fur industry in Europe,” said Thorbjørn Schiønning, the campaigns manager for Anima.
The decision follows a long standing debate over the issue in Norway which has attracted Europe’s largest organised anti-fur protests in recent years, with some 9,000 people from more than 30 towns joining last year’s demonstrations.
However, while animal rights activists are delighted by the decision, others from within the fur industry have expressed concern over the economic impacts of a ban.
Guri Wormdahl of the Norwegian Fur Breeders Association said he was “shocked, shaken to the core” by the new government’s proposals.
In the past, Norway’s economy has relied heavily on the fur industry. In 1939, Norway was the world’s largest producer of fox fur, with around 20,000 farms, according to a government report.
The present-day industry has shrunk significantly, with fur farming employing some 400 people across 200 farms.
Jon Georg Dal, the minister of agriculture of the populist Progress Party, is acknowledged the impact of the decision on farmers in the industry, but said the government would take steps to mitigate the fallout from the decision.
He said: “My job will now be to implement this in a way that ensures fur farms receive sufficient compensation in the phasing-out period.”
Although fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000, the campaigning charity Animal Defenders International, suggests that the UK continues to import and export large amounts of fur taken from foreign sources.