Welfare Standards for fur farmed animals (WelFur)

Summary of the initiative

Fur Europe
WelFur is the formal integration of animal welfare into production standards for three species of animals farmed for their fur: mink, silver foxes and blue foxes. The methods for welfare assessment are similar, but not identical, to those applied to animals farmed for other agricultural products (as described in the EU Welfare Quality® protocols).The main objective of WelFur is to check the level of animal welfare on European fur farms. This forms the basis for a solid certification programme to cover all European fur farms.

Description of the Initiative



    Contact Point - Commission

    Self/Co-Regulation Basic Act

    Title of Act
    Welfare Standards for fur farmed animals (WelFur)
    Title of Act
    EU Strategy on Animal Welfare

    Geographical Coverage

    Global coverage
    Participating Countries
    Other countries
    Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, USA, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova


    Problems that lead to the introduction of Self/Co-Regulation and the adoption of the Founding Act
    The WelFur project follows from a desire by the industry to improve and standardise welfare standards in fur farming and to meet legitimate, public concern about the welfare of fur-farmed animals.
    Target Group(s)
    Farmers, auction houses, wholesalers, retailers and consumers.
    Type of Instrument(s)
    WelFur is a science-based, practical and reliable on-farm assessment systems as an instrument to monitor and improve welfare and demonstrate, in a transparent way, good animal welfare practices.
    Type of Financing
    WelFur is financed entirely by the industry and its members.
    Level of Financing
    The implementation of WelFur will cost the industry approx. 40 million euro over the period 2009 - 2023.
    Type of Monitoring
    Conduct an initial survey of compliance capacity of future regulateesConduct regular visits and spot checksInitiate complaints proceduresMaintain database of those bounded by the normsProduce regular reportsReceive complaints and verify if norms were breached or notReflexive dialogue with the - stakeholdersOther
    European Commission
    National public authority
    International public authority
    Private regulator (code owner)yesyesyesyesyes
    Private independent party with a mandate (e.g. auditors)yesyes
    Self-appointed private parties (e.g. NGOs)
    Succinct description of the type of Monitoring
    WelFur is an on-farm assessment tool to measure the actual level of welfare. Assessments is carried out by an independent, third-party and results will be communicated to the fur farmer in order to encourage the farmer to take the most appropriate steps to improve animal welfare.
    As in Welfare Quality®, once all the measurements have been recorded on a farm, a bottom-up approach is followed to produce an overall assessment of animal welfare on that particular farm. First the data collected (i.e. the values obtained for the different measurements) on the farm are combined to calculate criterion-scores; then criterion-scores are combined to calculate principle-scores and finally the farm is assigned to one welfare category according to the principle scores it attained.
    Type of Enforcement
    Faming, shaming and blamingJudicial sanctionsMembership suspension/exclusionPrivate finesOther
    Private Regulatoryesyesyes
    Private independent party with a mandate (e.g. auditors)
    Court system
    Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) / Online dispute resolution (ODR)
    Succinct description of the type of Enforcement
    Following a concrete assessment and the calculation of a score to determine the actual level of welfare standards on the farm, Fur Europe issues a certificate to testify that the particular farm is part of the WelFur assessment scheme. Participation in WelFur is in principle voluntary. However, more than 90 percent of all fur farms in Europe have enrolled in the assessment scheme. The auction houses, through which farmers sell their skins, have announced that they will only sell WelFur-certified skins from 2020 onward.