Fur-free campaign of South-East Europe ‘Fur Free Forever’ (#furfreeforever) kicked off with a regional march in Sarajevo, Belgrade and Budapest on Saturday. This march is also set to take place in Podgorica and Sofia on Saturday, May 12th.
The campaign brought together hundreds of like-minded activists across the participating countries - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro, and Bulgaria - all united in a quest to seek national bans on fur farms amid a growing trend of outlawing fur farming around the globe.
This march comes in a particularly vulnerable time for the fur-free efforts in the region, after activists in Bosnia and Herzegovina sustained a blow at the beginning of this year when the state parliament decided to postpone implementation of a previously adopted fur farming ban until 2028.
Meanwhile, survival of Serbia’s fur farming ban has been brought in question, due to which region’s activists are now stepping up the efforts to raise awareness about the hazardous effects that fur industry has on animal welfare and environment.
Coordinator of the march in Sarajevo Maida Sabeta said that the entire regional campaign was initiated by the organization ‘Anti-Fur Coalition’ from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which she represented.
Sabeta explained that this organization’s initiative came in reaction to postponement of implementation of the country’s fur farming ban, and countries of South-East Europe without this ban or whose ban is in jeopardy joined in.
“The situation with awareness regarding the use of fur in Bosnia and Herzegovina is actually good. We are proud to say that there are far less fur coats seen in the streets of Sarajevo compared to Belgrade, where around 300 people marched today. Still, many unregistered fur farms represent a huge problem here, and there is no official data on the number of fur farms”, Sabeta added.
Coordinator of the march in Belgrade Filip Tesic, representing organization ‘Freedom for the Animals’, said that activists of the region now stand in defense of the 2009 law that established a fur farming ban in Serbia.
Tesic explained that Serbian fur farmers, who have been given a 10-year period for transitioning to more sustainable forms of production, were demanding extension of the transition period and even a complete abolition of the ban.
“Each year, a large number of animals are brutally killed on fur farms. The march should draw the attention of politicians and the public to this cruel practice, which deserves to be left in the past. This fact has been recognized by the majority of European countries”, he said.
‘Fur Free Forever’ gathers animal welfare activists and environmentalists, who plan to carry on with the campaign until the last fur farm in these countries is closed. According to organizers’ specific expectations, fur farms in Serbia and Bulgaria should be completely banned by the end of this year, and the same should happen in Bosnia and Herzegovina within no more than two years.