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News 24 Apr 17

Postponement of Bosnian Fur-Farming Ban Angers Activists

Animal rights organisations are furious about lawmakers' decision to postpone a ban on raising animals for their fur for a decade, but fur-farming supporters insist prohibition would mean lost jobs.

Igor Spaic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Photo: Jerrye and Roy Klotz/Wikimedia.

Animal rights activists told BIRN that the decision by Bosnia’s House of Peoples to accept an MP’s proposal to postpone to 2028 a ban on raising animals for their fur was unjustifiable.

The anti-fur farming law was passed in 2009 and the ban was supposed to come into effect in 2018, but the House of Peoples endorsed the postponement last Thursday, using an urgent procedure to do so.

“There was no justification for this law to be discussed under an urgent procedure, or for another extension of 10 years to appease a small number of fur producers, who had more than enough time to adapt to the ban,” Maida Sabeta from the Koalicija bez Krzna (Coalition without Fur) campaign group told BIRN.

The initiative to postpone the ban came from lawmaker Predrag Kozul, who said it should only be implemented after the state can compensate local fur producers.

Opponents of prohibition have argued that several companies would have to close down, and employees would lose their jobs.

Kozul claimed that “raising animals for fur production is allowed in nearly all EU member countries”, according to local news portal Klix.

“Even when EU countries do introduce a ban, they ensure a long adaptation perios and a large compenstation to the farmers,” Klix quoted Kozul as saying.

Another lawmaker, Mario Karamatic, tried to postpone the ban last year as well, causing animal rights activists to protest in front of parliament.

At the time, Karamatic named the same reasons as Kozul, saying that some 200 families  in Bosnia and Herzegovina are engaged in the fur business, and that the industry produces some two million euros in income for the country annually.

Karamatic's initiative last year failed, however.

Slavko Inic, the president of a local agricultural producers’ union - the Union for Rural Development – said that there are not many fur-farming businesses in the country.

“Raising animals for fur production only is not very popular here. I don’t think the ban would produce significant damage,” Inic told BIRN.

This was confirmed by the owner of a Bosnian store that sells fur and skins which are not from animals that are raised for their fur only.

“There were a couple of chinchilla farms in Herzegovina, but this has also disappeared. Nobody is really too interested in this,” he said, speaking to BIRN on condition of anonymity.

Animal rights activists insisted meanwhile that they will keep on fighting the postponement.

“We will only stop when the last [fur] farm is closed down, regardless of the laws,” Sabeta said.

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