On Monday evening 25 March 2019, the Italian television programme, RAI 3 Report, made strong allegations against Saga Furs and its Certification system. Prior to the programme’s broadcast, Saga Furs tried to cooperate with RAI 3 to provide the Report’s viewers with a balanced and honest view. However, RAI 3 refused to provide the necessary information so that Saga Furs could respond to these accusations.
The Report’s editorial staff, working with Finnish animal activists, illegally broke into two Finnish fur farms in the middle of the night in February 2019. The Report’s journalist claims that the footage they gathered is from farms filmed during this break-in. Based on the footage shown, Saga Furs’ experts have proven that this claim is not true. RAI 3 Report combined footage from multiple unidentified farms, from multiple hospital units, and from several different times of the year. Furthermore, some material dates even back to 2014. Doing this RAI 3 makes an attempt to mislead the public through manipulated footage and misinformation.
Animal activists concentrate their energy in discrediting our industry. Instead of helping the animals, they possibly spread diseases by entering farms without protective clothing and cause stress to the animals by flashing lights and causing other disruption. Their actions have the opposite effect on the animals’ welfare. It has also been proved that animal activists will go to extreme measures to have conflicting footage available. For example in 2009, animal activists bribed Chinese farmers to skin a living animal. This footage is also used in this RAI3 Report
Saga Certification is verified by independent parties
Saga Furs promotes the certification protocol to ensure that designers and fashion brands can obtain pelts that come from sustainably managed farms with the highest level of animal welfare. Saga Certified farms are regularly checked by 3rd parties, such as different state bodies specialised in animal welfare and the environment.
The Certification audits are conducted by Luova Oy where the Finnish state and municipal authorities are the majority shareholders. Regarding the WelFur audits, Luova acts as a subcontractor for Baltic Control, the world’s leading verification and certification company. Certified farms must meet extensive criteria defined by the Finnish law, certification rules and additional scientific criteria for assessing animal well-being.
Saga Certification, developed together with Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association, has been in place since 2005 and is regarded as the platinum standard in advancing animal welfare in the industry. Farms that fail to meet criteria will lose their certification. Saga Furs continuously invests in the development of the certification. The latest example of this is the WelFur assessment, an animal welfare scorecard based on research done by seven European universities. From 2018 WelFur has been included in the Saga Certification.
Fur farming is one of the most regulated and inspected animal husbandry industries in Europe. WelFur has recently received the European Commission’s highest seal of approval, having been included in the European Commission’s database for “Self-Regulation” and “Co-Regulation” initiatives. Saga Furs and Finnish fur farmers do their utmost to make sure that animals are treated respectfully. We invite everyone to visit the farms during the daytime, to see what the reality is.