Poland’s parliament on Friday passed an animal rights law that bans the breeding of animals for fur and stops exports of halal and kosher meat.
Poland is the world’s third-biggest fur producer after China and Denmark, according to activists, and a major exporter of kosher meat to Israel and Jewish communities in Europe.
“Poland’s standards regarding animals should be no worse, or even better, than those in western countries,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the Law and Justice party (PiS), said. PiS put forward the legislation.
Over the weekend, Kaczynski launched the online #stopfurchallenge for social media users to express their support for the measure. Kaczynski is known for his love of cats.
“In the 21st century, it’s possible to look really good without putting on a fur garment,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Twitter ahead of the vote.
After a marathon session that began on Thursday and with the support of the liberal opposition, the legislation passed the lower house of parliament with 356 votes in favor, 75 against and 18 abstentions.
Polish Nobel literature winner Olga Tokarczuk had also appealed for the law to be passed, along with campaigners from the animal welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Otwarte Klatki (Open Cages), an animal rights group, said there were around 550 fur farms in Poland where 5.2 million animals are suffering.
The measure, which still requires the approval of the senate, has angered fur farmers and kosher meat producers.