The European Fur Trade - The biggest in the world

There are 6,000 fur farms in the EU. The EU accounts for 63% of global mink production and 70% of fox production. Denmark is the leading mink-producing country, accounting for approximately 28% of world production. Other major producers include China, the Netherlands, the Baltic states, and the U.S. Finland is the largest United States supplier of fox pelts. The United States is a major exporter of fur skins. Major export markets include China, Russia, Canada, and the EU. Exports to Asia as a share of total exports grew from 22% in 1998 to 47% in 2002. China is the largest importer of fur pelts in the world and the largest exporter of finished fur products.

Fur farming is banned in Germany, Austria, Croatia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic (effective in 2019) and Norway. In Switzerland, the regulations for fur farming are very strict, with the result that there are no fur farms. Some other countries have a ban on fur farming of certain types of animals.

The United Kingdom

Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000 and Fur Farming (Prohibition) (Scotland) Act 2002

After UK mink farmers were subjected to almost daily protests, they agreed to shut down they're farming in exchange for compensation in England and Wales in 2000. At second reading, the ban in England and Wales was justified principally on grounds of public morality. Prior to the ban, there had been 11 fur farms in the UK producing about 100,000 pelts annually. Although the last fur farm in Scotland had closed in 1993, the Scottish Parliament nevertheless banned fur farming in 2002. Fur farming was also banned in Northern Ireland in 2002 under the Fur Farming (Prohibition) (Northern Ireland) Order 2002. 


In Austria, six of the nine federal states have banned fur farming, and the remaining three enforce such strict welfare regulations, in relation to the availability of swimming water, that fur farming is no longer economically viable.

The Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland has five fur farms. All of them are mink fur farms., although one previously was traded in fox fur. Around, 225,000 mink are farmed. Furs are exported from the Republic of Ireland to other EU member states or to countries in Asia and North America. 

The Netherlands

Fur farming of chinchillas and foxes is banned. Legislation to phase out mink fur farming (and thereby effectively all fur farming) by 2024 was approved by the end of 2012.


In Finland has around 950 active fur farms. The breeding of fur-animals started in the 1920’s. Up to 90% of the fur-farming community is situated in the rural areas of Ostrobothnia and employs four to six thousand people. Today, fur farming is strictly regulated by law. In August 2017, an undercover investigation revealed the breeding of ‘super-sized’ foxes, so large they couldn’t support their own weight. After this video was released the Finnish Breeders association announced they would no longer use these foxes for pelts. Finland is the largest supplier of fox pelts.


On November 21, 2014, the Estonian animal advocacy organisation Loomis submitted a petition to ban fur farming in the country with a 10-year transition period to the parliament. This was preceded by secretly filmed anonymous documentary footage being aired both online via YouTube and on Estonian National Television depicting the conditions of the animals in 2012 (aired 2013) and 2014. Loomis issued a comment after the airings of Estonian Public Broadcasting outlining the documented disregard animal welfare regulations and pointing out the numerous injuries of animals that were documented.

On 10 May 2017 the parliament of Estonia rejected a bill that would outlaw fur farming in Estonia over a period of ten years with 24 votes in favour and 49 against.