Croatia: One Of Several Places To Watch Re Fur Production – Serbia Is Another.

croatia

 

We have been involved with Slavica in Serbia regarding the future production of fur and fur farming in Serbia.  We have concerns about fur farming as Serbia is currently seeking EU membership (accession) and effectively it could pick up the trade which is greatly reducing in other parts of the EU.  There is NO EU wide restrictions on fur bearing animals in the EU; it is left to individual member states to act as they see appropriate.  For example, here n the UK; and EU member state, we have banned fur farming.  Some other EU nations also have, along with others that have not.  The issue of seal skins into the EU is another issue; and the EU has legislation regarding seal skin import bans.

Our good colleagues at ‘Animal Friends Croatia’, in Zagreb, Croatia, (already an EU member nation) have been very active in supplying us with the situation within Croatia.  We (at SAV) have learnt a great deal from the research undertaken with their help and the information kindly provided by others.

Here in the main section below are a few important points which need to be considered very carefully in relation to the fur farming industry – much of which the fur producers wish to keep very quiet about; but us being us, we are gonna shout about it !.  We have given references as necessary to support our evidence.

We have had some great input from our friends in Croatia.  We understood that Croatia was currently going through a phase out of fur production there; commencing in 2007 with a 10 year phase out period; eventually leading to a ban which would be in line with some other EU nations (such as us here in UK).  But things appear to be less simple than just a straight move towards a ban in Croatia; is this not always the case ?.

It would appear that both the fur industry and politicians are trying to impose changes which would have a major influence on Croatian fur farming; and which would be very much in opposition to the Croatian public who very much support a ban on fur and fur farming.  You can read more from ‘Animal Friends Croatia’ at the end of this post; but the information they are currently providing to us is as follows:

Hi all,

unfortunately, due to fur lobbying of fur farmers both fur farming in Croatia and Serbia are in great danger (perhaps Bosnia as well, we’re awaiting info).

In Croatia we managed to get the fur farming ban in 2007 with phasing out period until 2017. However, our Minister of Agriculture plans to make an exception for chinchillas who are, paradoxically, only animals kept for fur in Croatia.

We are lobbying towards politicians to get support and keep the ban as it is. It’s a rather complex situation, but in short: we’ve gone public last week (now a few weeks ago – SAV) with info on real possibility that our fur farming ban gets dropped.

We at SAV would suggest that this is read as it is very informative

We have written argumentation against fur farming which is now online: http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/index.en.php?id=1765

At this point, we don’t have our press release translated to English, only the argumentation, but we have it in Croatian -: http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/index.hr.php?id=2732

We are in contact with some Serbian organisations who informed us on the situation there and will continue correspondence. The situation is very similar. Although we (Croatia) are part of EU, since the EU itself didn’t issue the ban of fur farming, our Ministry of Agriculture is using that as an excuse.

We’re struggling with time and money but doing all we can to keep the ban. To make things worse, our Ministry of Agriculture is trying to legalize hunting with bows an arrows (which is currently not permitted) so we have been working so far on that issue as well: http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/index.en.php?id=1755

We wanted to give you all info on situation on Croatia.

Best regards,

AFC.

 ————————–

Some general information relating to fur production that we at SAV have found whilst doing our research:

http://www.infurmation.com/index.php/issues/fur-environment

Environmentally harmful products including chromium and formaldehyde are used in the processing of real fur garments to keep them from rotting. Many fur farmers and processors have been fined for releasing toxic waste into the environment. Far from being “natural, renewal resources,” real fur products consume more of our precious and irreplaceable energy resources than do those made from synthetic materials.

TOXIC FUR: The Impacts of Fur Production on the Environment and the Risks to Human Health

A 2009 study by the Humane Society of the United States addresses the fur industry’s claims that fur is green and demonstrates how the use of animal fur by the fashion industry is far from environmentally friendly. Rather, the production of fur for fashion imposes significant adverse impacts on both the environment and human health.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/38836299/Toxic-Fur

How serious is the pollution generated by the fur industry?

The 2003 European Commission Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau “Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for the Tanning of Hides and Skins ”recognizes the tanning industry as “a potentially pollution-intensive industry.”

The Industrial Pollution Projection System rates the fur dressing and dyeing industry one of the five worst industries for toxic metal pollution to the land.

And in 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined six fur processing plants $2.2 million for the pollution they caused, citing them for hazardous waste violations and stating that “the solvents used in these operations may cause respiratory problems, and are listed as possible carcinogens.”

The Chinese government is also notably concerned about the pollution caused by fur dyeing factories.  In December 2007, a fur trade publication, The Trapper & Predator Caller, reported that China was considering imposing a punitive tax on the fur dressing and tanning industries as part of an attempt to penalize “industries causing excessive pollution.”

Energy consumption.

Energy is consumed at every stage of fur production. This is in addition to the energy costs of transporting the animal pelts and finished fur garments around the globe, throughout all the stages of fur production—beginning with transporting feed to fur farms or trappers setting and checking their trap lines, then shipping the animal pelts to international auctions and on to dressers, dyers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and finally to the consumer.

In describing the energy input required to run intensive animal farming operations, The Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health note in a2008 report that such systems are “almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels.”

A tremendous amount of gasoline is used by trappers to check their miles of trap lines on a regular basis, to remove dead and dying animals, and to reset the traps. In many of the highest-volume trapping states such as Michigan,

Ohio and Wisconsin, trappers are required to check their traps every day for the three to four month duration of the trapping season. This is done with gasoline-burning vehicles including trucks, snowmobiles, four-wheelers and even airplanes.

And when trapping in inaccessible areas of Alaska, “many gallons of expensive gasoline must be freighted in” simply to operate snowmobiles.

Because they use so much gasoline, a steep rise in price per gallon may lead many trappers to reduce or eliminate how many traps they set.

To account for the amount of energy required to operate tanneries, the European Commission maintains “it is necessary to record the energy consumption for electricity, heat (steam and heating) and compressed air, particularly for the units with highest consumption, such as waste water treatment and drying procedures.”

In Mink Production 

A “manual for fur breeders,” the Danish Fur Breeders Association fur discuss the energy consumed during the pelting and drying process: “A pelting plant is not complete without a storeroom in which the temperature can be kept between 10 and 12oC…and the humidity at about 70-80%.” The suggested drying room similarly requires a constant temperature and an energy-powered system for discharging a controlled amount of water.

http://www.respectforanimals.co.uk/facts-and-reports/the-fur-trade-and-the-environment/113/

Chemical processing of fur

As soon as the pelt is removed from the animal it begins to decay. Chemicals such as formaldehyde are needed to prevent the animal skins from rotting. One of the first signs is hair loss as individual hairs begin to fall off the skin.

It’s pretty obvious really, since fur is part of a dead animal it needs protection from attack by natural decay agents including insects, bacteria and fungus.

In fact, a cocktail of harmful and toxic substances are used to process and protect raw fur skins. These include surfactants and fats, solvents, acids, tannins, biocides, fungicides, dyes and bleaches. 

Workers in the industry are at risk from acute and chronic effects ranging from skin complaints and eye irritation to cancer and even death.  Risks to the environment include toxicity to aquatic organisms, as well as air pollution.

Much of the fur processing industry has moved to developing countries such as China due to their lower environmental standards and cheap labour.  However it still takes place in a number of European countries including Italy, Greece, Germany.

A 2003 European Commission Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control study on Best Available Techniques for the Tanning of Hides and Skins recognizes the tanning industry as “a potentially pollution-intensive industry.”  The Industrial Pollution Projection System rates the fur dressing & dyeing industry one of the five worst industries for toxic metal pollution to the land. 

In 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined six fur processing plants $2.2 million for the pollution they caused, citing them for hazardous waste violations and stating that “the solvents used in these operations may cause respiratory problems, and are listed as possible carcinogens.”

But now, even the Chinese government is becoming concerned about the pollution caused by fur dyeing factories.  In December 2007, one of the fur trade’s publications, The Trapper & Predator Caller, reported that China was considering imposing a punitive tax on the fur dressing and tanning industries as part of an attempt to penalize “industries causing excessive pollution.”

After animals have been killed on fur factory farms or on trap lines, their skins are  pulled off the animals’ bodies.  Now referred to as a “pelt,” the animal’s skin with the hair still attached is sent to be tanned (or “dressed”) and perhaps dyed, bleached, or otherwise treated.

Two of the main methods for dressing fur skins involve chemicals that are listed as carcinogens and are toxic to humans. 

Formaldehyde is used during dressing and dyeing, as already mentioned, to protect fur follicles. Formaldehyde is on every major list of toxic substances, including the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) Toxics Reporting Industry (TRI) list of reportable toxic chemicals, the American Apparel and Footwear Association Restricted Substances List (AAFA-RSL) and the California Proposition 65 Super List of chemicals known to cause cancer. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), “this chemical is carcinogenic.”  This expert working group of 26 scientists from 10 countries determined in 2004 that there is now sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans” and strong evidence that formaldehyde causes leukemia. 

Chromium is used in the “chrome tanning” process – a common method for dressing fur skins. It is widely considered to be toxic, and even carcinogenic in some forms.  In 2003, children’s toys and other retail items made with dog and cat fur and sold in Australia and Europe were found to contain toxic levels of chromium.  Chromium is on the EPA TRI List of reportable toxic chemicals and the California Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive effects.

Other chemicals that may be used or emitted in the fur dressing and dyeing processes and that appear on one or more US government lists of toxic chemicals include aluminium, ammonia, chlorine, chlorobenzene, copper, ethylene glycol, lead, methanol, naphthalene, sulfuric acid, toluene and zinc. 

Of these typical tannery pollutants, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) recognizes toluene and lead as chemicals that are “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”  This is echoed by the IARC which classifies lead as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and toluene as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Naphthalene-which may be used during the dyeing and finishing stages, as a component of the oxidation dyes- is also listed as an OSHA carcinogen.

Ethylene glycol, lead, toluene and zinc are among the chemicals used known to be developmentally and reproductively toxic to men and women. The Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety (4th ed.) states that “various chemicals used in the fur industry are potential skin irritants.”  Furthermore, a 1998 study of workers in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that women employed as leather and fur processors may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Furthermore, the European Commission considers air pollution to be one of the chief environmental concerns of the tanning process, whereby toxic and odorous substances are typically emitted during normal tannery operations.

The chemicals listed in the section above are just a sample of all those used in fur dressing and dyeing, and all furs are dressed in order to be used for fashion.  Dressing is important as it prevents fur from biodegrading.  In the pre-dressing preservation process, “common salt is used to remove moisture from the skin, inhibiting putrefaction.” This is the explicit purpose of subjecting fur garments to a dressing process before they can be sold-to stop the natural process of biodegrading.

http://www.four-paws.org.uk/files/united_kingdom/Campaigns/Fur/Factsheet.pdf

fur is 2

FUR

 

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