Party for the Animals wants a sustai­nable clothing industry without animal suffering

25 ינואר 2023

European plans to make the clothing industry more sustainable seem to have forgotten about the millions of animals used in the sector. Even though the production of fur, leather, wool and down causes immense suffering and environmental pollution, and increases the risk of zoonoses and pandemics. Therefore, the Party for the Animals submitted a series of proposals last week to ban widespread animal suffering from the clothing and textile industry.

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MEP Anja Hazekamp calls on the European Parliament to stop the import of merino wool, kangaroo leather, angora wool and karakul fur.

MEP Anja Hazekamp of the Party for the Animals welcomes EU plans to make the clothing industry more sustainable: "In Europe, we buy an average of around 26 kilos of textiles per person per year and we throw away an average of 11 kilos each year. Only 1 percent of those discarded clothes are recycled. This so-called fast fashion consumption pattern causes the clothing industry to use immense amounts of raw materials and water and emit an enormous amount of greenhouse gases. It is important to make the clothing industry truly more sustainable."

"But unfortunately," observes Anja Hazekamp, "animals have once again been completely forgotten in the European Commission’s sustainability plans of last year." Whilst millions of animals are killed in the textile industry worldwide every year for their skin, hair and feathers, without any rules being set. "It is time for Europe to ban all horrific production methods and also to stop the import of products from outside the EU for which animals have suffered," says Anja Hazekamp.

These products include the down of ducks and geese that are plucked whilst alive; the wool of merino sheep, when the skin of their buttocks is cut without anesthesia during the so-called mulesing; angora wool from rabbits that are in severe pain every time their hair is pulled from their skin; kangaroo leather from Australia's large-scale, horrific hunting industry; and last but not least karakul fur, the black curly skins of about 4 million unborn or newborn karakul lambs each year.

Cruel, sickening and polluting

The use of animals in the textile industry is not only cruel, the production of leather and fur, for example, also uses enormous amounts of water, energy and chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment. The keeping and transporting of large numbers of animals and animal products also entails a huge risk of disease and pandemics, which has become painfully clear with the coronavirus pandemic and avian flu epidemic. And while a large part of European leather as a 'by-product' comes from the meat and dairy industry – which plays an important role in global warming, deforestation, and nature degradation – large numbers of geese, ducks, rabbits, foxes, minks, sheep, and other animals are specially bred and kept for the textile industry.

Of all the cruel practices that animals are subjected to for the benefit of the clothing and textile industry, those in the fur industry are probably most well-known. Just last week, shocking images emerged of fur farms in Finland with an animal welfare certificate, where injured, deformed and fattened foxes in tiny, barren cages spend their lives in terrible conditions. Fortunately, more and more countries are banning the production of fur, and more and more major fashion brands are no longer using it.

Sign for a fur-free Europe!

Anja Hazekamp during the launch of the European Citizens' Initiative 'Fur-free Europe' in Amsterdam in May 2022.

Previously, Anja Hazekamp called for a European ban on mink farms and more than 1.3 million European citizens have now signed the citizens' initiative for a 'Fur-free Europe'. That is fantastic news, says Hazekamp: "A successful citizens' initiative increases the chance that animals no longer have to suffer in the fur industry. Together we can ensure that Europe becomes fur-free." She calls on anyone who has not yet done so to sign the citizens' initiative.

If, after checking the statements of support, it turns out that at least 1 million valid signatures have been collected from at least 7 different EU countries, a hearing will follow in the European Parliament and the European Commission must respond to the citizens' initiative within 6 months.

This spring, the European Parliament will vote on the proposals of the Party for the Animals for a sustainable and ethical clothing industry. The party demands that the welfare of animals in the clothing industry in EU countries is legally protected and that the sale and import of animal-unfriendly products is banned to also combat the horror practices outside the EU: "Tightening our own animal welfare legislation, which is very necessary, is not going to help those animals. Stopping the import of these products does."