Japan once had 4,000 fur farms, and now it has none thanks to animal welfare groups.
The Otsuka mink fur farm officially closed for business, meaning that the age of fur farms in Japan has ended entirely.
Thanks to a law that was passed in 2006, no new fur farms are allowed to open, and the Otsuka farm was the last remaining facility that was still running. These farms were breeding American minks, raccoons, and coypus simply to kill them for their coats, but the Invasive Alien Species Act declared that the impact of escapees from these farms was too harmful for native species.
Though the new law prevented new farms from opening, any farms that were in existence before the law was enacted were allowed to stay open if they continued to follow the rules. Fortunately, several organizations, like Animal Rights Center Japan (ARCJ), were vigilant about reporting the last farms for violations until every last one of them was closed.
Violations included those against the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals and the Invasive Alien Species Act, which occurred every time a mink would escape from the facility. Since minks are agile and also great swimmers, it was easy for them to escape when the farmers weren’t keeping up with licensing requirements and building codes.
This is a great victory for animals in Japan, where the fur industry skyrocketed after WWII and at one point had 4,000 fur farms during its peak. A combination of the sharp decrease in demand for fur and animal rights groups’ determination to get farms shut down helped to end the industry for good, but there’s still more work to be done for animals in this respect.
Japan still imports 1.67 million animal furs from overseas annually, meaning the demand is still high enough to warrant concern and action. Fur farms are cruel places where animals are in-bred to live horrible lives in disgusting cages and ultimately die a very painful death. These farms should not be allowed anywhere, and by raising your voice and ending the demand by not buying fur, someday the industry will be closed forever.
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