Finland’s parliament makes history with debate on fur farming ban

Finnish lawmakers debated a citizen's initiative to ban fur farming Thursday. Polls show a majority of MPs oppose an outright ban. (Yle)
Finnish lawmakers debated a citizen’s initiative to ban fur farming Thursday. Polls show a majority of MPs oppose an outright ban. (Yle)

Finnish lawmakers began debating the country’s first ever draft legislation to come from the grass roots level Thursday. Spawned from a citizen’s initiative, a bill to ban fur farms received the support of the Left Alliance and the Green League during a preliminary debate in Parliament.

Demonstrators protesting the fur farming industry outside the Parliament Thursday were joined by lawmakers in celebrating the success of collaborative democracy, as MPs prepared to debate the first citizen’s initiative to come before the Parliament.

Last autumn a movement to ban fur farms in Finland gathered more than the 50,000 signatures needed to take it to lawmakers for deliberation. At the time, informal polls showed that a majority of MPs opposed an outright ban on fur farming, but the backers of the bill feel that getting the motion into the Parliament is itself a major accomplishment.

During Thursday’s initial debate, only the Left Alliance and the Green League spoke out in support of the proposed ban.

Parliament’s Agriculture and Forestry Committee will take over handling of the bill and will hear expert opinions on fur farming as part of its review. Different parliamentary groups also lent their support to an in-depth review of the bill before once more tabling it in parliament for a vote.

Another citizen’s initiative proposing the passage of gender-neutral legislation will also come before lawmakers on the strength of popular support. That bill was previously narrowly blocked at the Committee stage and never made it to the floor for debate and voting.

A citizen’s initiative launched in March to take the bill back to Parliament reached its target within hours of going public.

Yle News

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