Norway has announced it is phasing out its fur farming industry, with both mink and fox farms to conclude all operations by 2025. The move, widely cheered by animal rights organizations, will impact some 300 farms currently in production and save the lives of an estimated 700,000 minks and 110,000 foxes each year.

"We are thrilled to see such an unequivocal pledge from the Norwegian government to ban all fur farming, and look forward to seeing this important decision receiving the political backing it deserves," Ruud Tombrock, executive director of Humane Society International/EU said in a statement to Newsweek. "Factory farming wild animals for fur in appallingly deprived conditions is unconscionably cruel, so to see a ban on this dreadful trade in a Scandinavian country is truly historic."

A group of fox pups rescued from a Norway fox farm from the Norwegian group Nettverk for Dyrs Frihet. A group of fox pups at a fox farm in Norway as photographed by the Norwegian group Nettverk for Dyrs Frihet. (Photo: Nettverk for Dyrs Frihet)

Norway, at one point in the early-20th century the largest producer of fox fur, today accounts for about 3 percent of the global output for fox fur and 1 percent for mink. Nonetheless, the decision to leave the cruel industry altogether could create a domino effect in other Nordic countries, in particular Denmark, which accounts for 28 percent of global mink production. As it stands, 14 European countries have either ended or committed to phasing out factory fur operations.

The phased ban is expected to shutter nearly 300 fur farms throughout Norway and save hundreds of thousands of lives annually. The ban is expected to shutter nearly 300 fur farms throughout Norway and save hundreds of thousands of lives annually. (Photo: Nettverk for Dyrs Frihet)

The ban was made possible thanks to a new three-party coalition government in Norway, with the Liberal (Venstre) party credited with pushing forward the initiative.

According to Agriculture Minister Jon Georg Dale of the Progress Party, steps will be taken to make sure fur farmers, who expressed shock at the decision, will be assisted in transitioning to other forms of income. Others, such as Betran Trane Skardsem, chairman of Norway's fur industry organization "Norges Pelsdyralslag," plan to fight the measure.

"The last word has definitely not been said about this," he told newsinenglish.no. "We still hope to get around this."

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.