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Lawmakers to consider anti-fur farming citizens' initiative

Left Alliance MP Aino-Kaisa Pekonen speculated that anti-fur farming sentiment has now taken root in Finland. Christian Democrat parliamentarian Peter Östman countered that support for the movement is merely transient.

Peter Östman ja Aino-Kaisa Pekonen.
Christian Democratic MP Peter Östman (left) and Left Alliance MP Aino-Kaisa Pekonen. Image: Yle

On Tuesday NGOs will hand over to Parliament a citizens’ initiative calling for an end to commercial fur farming. The petition was signed by nearly 70,000 supporters.

The initiative is the first proposal to reach the legislature based on a law that took effect last spring, under which any initiative that gathers a minimum of 50,000 signatures must be considered by Parliament. However the support must be gathered in a six-month period.

“There’s been talk about fur farming for a long time and of course, different campaigns and video material about fur farms have helped with the petition. I think that people are more aware of how the animals are really treated, and look at them in a different way than they did before,” said Left Alliance Member of Parliament Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, who supports the initiative.

Anti-fur wave reaches Finland

“I think that the anti-fur wave has now spread around Europe. Maybe it has now beached in Finland as well,” Pekonen speculated.

For his part Christian Democratic parliamentarian Peter Östman supports the fur industry. He took a dim view of the significance of the initiative now going before lawmakers.

“Waves come and waves go,” Östman quipped, pointing out that 70,000 signatories represent just one percent of the population.

“Of course initially these citizens’ initiatives will come as though from a conveyor belt,” he added.

Pekonen, however, countered that the anti-fur lobby did have some weight.

“Indeed this movement has resonated with people in a different way than any other citizens’ initiative. There are currently about forty different initiatives and twelve of them have died due to lack of support,” she pointed out.

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