The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), with the help of Respect for Animals, have called for a ban on fur farming in Ireland.
They have issued the calls on ethical, moral and animal welfare grounds, backing a bill (the Prohibition of Fur Farming Bill) recently introduced to the Dáil by Deputy Ruth Coppinger TD. The calls have also come after a recent opinion poll, conducted in October 2018 by Red C Research, found that 80% of the public agree that farming and killing animals for fur in Ireland should be banned.
The main animal kept for the fur trade in Ireland is the mink, which is a wild animal. The ISPCA say they are deprived of the ability to “exhibit normal behaviours like swimming, running, digging, foraging or hunting” and as a result exhibit many different behavioural and physical symptoms such as repetitive circling, fur-chewing, self-mutilation which often causes serious injuries and open wounds which can become infected.
In Ireland, there are currently three fur farms, which are located in Donegal, Kerry and Laois. They are reported to contain up to 200,000 mink, which are farmed in tiny wire mesh battery cages and killed by gassing. A report carried out in 2009 by the Irish Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government highlighted that American Minks, which are used in fur farming, had become well established in Ireland, due to escapes from fur farms. In Ireland, the National Biodiversity Data Centre has designated American mink as a ‘High Impact Invasive Species’.
“There is overwhelming scientific evidence that fur farming is cruel. Mink are essentially wild animals and keeping them in small cages in which they are deprived of the ability to express their normal behaviours such as swimming and foraging is not acceptable.” Said Dr Andrew Kelly, ISPCA CEO.
"Every year approximately 150,000 mink are killed in Ireland solely for a non-essential fashion item which is simply unacceptable. We are calling on the government to put an end to this inhumane practice. Many EU member states have already adopted legislation to prohibit or limit fur farming juuand we want Ireland to put an end to this barbaric practice which should be consigned to the dustbin of history.” He added.
Mark Glover, Respect for Animals & Fur Free Alliance, said a ban is the only viable solution to the many animal welfare concerns associated with fur farming.
“Fur farming is a disaster for animal welfare and it is clear from the opinion poll results released today that such a ban has huge support from the Irish public.” He said.
“The fur industry is keen to promote fur as a ‘green’ product, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, fur production is a highly chemical and energy-consumptive process. Escaped mink have a serious impact on the environment and native species and are listed in the top 100 most invasive species by the International union for Conservation of Nature.” He added.
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