The Italian senate’s Budget Committee voted to approve a modified version of an amendment to the budget law, which included the historic decision. A final decision is to be made by the parliament in the upcoming weeks.
If it does pass, Italy would become the 16th European country to ban fur farming, following similar decisions made by Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, The Netherlands and Norway, among others.
As part of the approved amendment, Italy is expected to ban breeding of mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas, with all active farms to be closed by June 30 next year. Farmers will receive funds for a total of 3 million euros throughout 2022 to compensate for the lost business while in flux.
Although this would mark the first tangible stance the Italian government has taken, many Italian designer brands have already forgone the use of real fur in recent years, including Prada, Versace, Valentino, Gucci, Giorgio Armani and Furla.
The vote followed ongoing conversations with animal protection organization Humane Society International’s Europe branch, which provided strategic solution to convert fur farms into alternative businesses.
“This is a historic victory for animal protection in Italy…There are very clear economic, environmental, public health and of course animal welfare reasons to close and ban fur farms. Today’s vote recognizes that allowing the mass breeding of wild animals for frivolous fur fashion represents a risk to both animals and people that can’t be justified by the limited economic benefits it offers to a small minority of people involved in this cruel industry,” said Martina Pluda, director of Humane Society International in Italy.
The plan received the endorsement of Michela Vittoria Brambilla, a moderate right-wing member of the parliament, who’s been campaigning for animal welfare in recent years, and Loredana De Petris, a left-wing senator who submitted the amendment.
“In 30 years of animal rights battle this is the best victory. Finally, a parliamentary vote sanctions the end of unspeakable suffering inflicted on animals only in the name of profit and vanity. Italy is the 20th European country to introduce a ban or severe restriction on fur farming: better late than never,” said Brambilla.
Contacted by WWD, Mark Oaten, chief executive officer of the International Fur Federation, contended that the move is still in it early stages as it was approved under budget legislation.
“We understand more votes are due in the next few days. If a ban does become law this will be a great pity as the farmers will lose their income and we will be stopping a highly regulated and sustainable farming sector from being allowed the freedom to farm,” the executive said. “I fear if they ban fur farmers, soon they will move on to ban cows and chicken and pig farming as the political parties are so frightened of animal rights groups these days.”
A number of brands have pledged to go fur-free over the past few years on the international scene, from Michael Kors and Burberry to Chanel and Oscar de la Renta, as well as all Kering-owned brands, seeing this as a step into more sustainable practices — although fur advocates insist that natural fur is more sustainable than fake fur. Cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have also taken steps to ban fur.