On January 28th a March for the Animals, an initiative organised by an animal rights organization Open Cages, stormed down Gediminas Avenue in Vilnius, Lithuania. Around 1000 participants crowded in to raise the public awareness of ethical problems associated with fur industry.
The march was also meant to support the action of the member of Lithuanian Green Party, Linas Balsys, who recently registered an amendment of the Animal Welfare and Protection Law which would essentially ban rearing and killing animals for fur if it was introduced. The amendment in question will likely be voted on during the Parliament spring session.
People from all over Lithuania gathered to march for the animals. Some participants even flew in from Germany, UK, Denmark. A big delegation from Latvian NGO Dzivnieku briviba came as well. Activists and volunteers from other Lithuanian NGOs, among which were animal welfare and environmental organizations also came to show their support for the cause. Even banners of a couple of political parties - the Green party and the Liberals - could be noticed in the crowd as well as the familiar faces of several Lithuanian celebrities.
The demonstrators marched with various signs in hand, "Make Love Not Fur", "Fur kills", "Death Isn’t Pretty" being the most prominent, together with pictures of minks and foxes, the animals commonly raised in fur farms. The march was accompanied by drum rhythms and chants such as "Fur farming is too cruel to be be legal", “While you buy, they suffer and die” and others.
“We are happy that so many people came. There must be some kind of political and social maturing going on. More people than ever seem outraged enough with the failing of the law to go out into the streets. Seeking to defend the weak – in this case, the animals – is a true sign of a mature society. We are trying to change the legislation, and we’re hopeful that Lithuania too will join the growing group of European countries that have banned the intrinsically unethical practice of fur farming", Gabija Enciute, one of the founders of Open Cages in Lithuania, commented after the rally near the Parliament.
Currently there are about 200 fur farms operating in Lithuania that altogether cause about 2 million animal deaths every year. The rally was organised in order to encourage the Lithuanian MPs to vote for the amendment in animal welfare legislation, and draw their attention to the environmental and animal welfare problems in fur industry. A 2016 representative poll shows that two thirds of Lithuanians don't support fur farming.