Coalition of Animal Welfare Organisations Call on Irish Government To Honour Commitment To Ban Fur Farming
New Film taken in Irish Fur Farm Shows Need for Ban
Film released for the first time today showing conditions on a mink farm in Ireland (Co Sligo) will be used as evidence in a submission to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine urging the government to honour the commitment to ban fur factory farming.
The film shows mink in tiny, barren, filthy wire cages. Some animals are clearly suffering with untreated wounds and piles of mink faeces can be seen in their cramped cages.
Fur factory farming has been condemned my many international experts and vets. Comments made by a Co Wicklow vet who has viewed this new film can be found below.
A group of Irish and International animal welfare organisations have joined forces in an effort to ensure this Irish government does not renege on the previous government's policy of a phase out of fur farming.
As part of today's campaign launch, a large poster van will be touring Dublin showing a mink in a fur factory farm accompanied by the slogan ‘Fur farming: Time for a ban'. The van will be visiting sites including the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Organisations supporting this call include Compassion in World Farming-Ireland, ARAN, Respect for Animals, Anima and the international coalition of animal welfare groups opposed to fur farming, The Fur Free Alliance.
John Carmody, Campaigns Director for ARAN says: "Fur breeders are not able to provide for the welfare of mink on Irish fur farms. This latest investigation shows that it's ‘business as usual' on Irish fur farms and that this suffering must come to an end, nothing has changed since the previous coalition government's pledge to ban fur farming."
Mary-Anne Bartlett of Compassion in World Farming-Ireland said today: "At the time, Compassion in World Farming-Ireland very much welcomed the agreement to ban fur farming as a major step forward for animal welfare. We sincerely hope that the current government now puts this major reform in place without delay."
Mark Glover of Respect for Animals, the UK's leading anti-fur organisation, said today: "Fur factory farming has been banned in Northern Ireland for nearly a decade, and the rest of the UK for over 11 years. These bans reflected public opinion and that the farming of animals for nothing other than their fur offended public morality. The Northern Ireland Assembly and Parliament at Westminster studied extensive evidence on the issue before concluding that only bans on this cruel practice could resolve the problem.
"Fur breeding is not consistent with good agricultural practice and Britain is a better place without it, as Ireland could be."
Joh Vinding, Chair of the Fur Free Alliance said "We very much hope that Ireland will join the list of caring and responsible countries that have already taken action to prevent the cruelty inherent in fur factory farming. Full or partial bans have already been introduced in Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Croatia as well as the UK. Future generations will look back in horror at the way we treated and killed so many animals simply for the skins off their backs."
Vet, Peter Wedderburn's - http://www.petewedderburn.com- comments on the fur farm film:
"Farm animals, like all animals under the care of humans, deserve to have a life worth living, and a life free of suffering. In the video footage of the mink farm, there were several aspects that cause specific concerns.
The mink cages have wire mesh flooring. This may be convenient from a management point of view to prevent body waste accumulating, but from an animal welfare perspective, a solid floor is preferable. Wire mesh can be a stressful underfoot surface, requiring the animal to choose its footing carefully to avoid the feet slipping through the gaps, and the narrow gauge of the wire can lead to pressure sores on the feet.
Farmed animals should be given the opportunity to express natural behaviours, and it's difficult to see how this is possible for the mink in the video. They are enclosed in a small, empty space, with no other objects or activities for them to engage with. This is likely to
create serious ongoing stress. The gross accumulation of matted faeces in and around the cages is indicative of a poor level of hygiene, with increased risk of ill health as a consequence."
- The Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in its annual review 2009-2010 refers to the commitment to ‘phase out fur farming over three years' in the previous government's Renewed Programme for Government.
- There are 5 licensed fur factory farms in Ireland.
- In 2001, the EU's Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare concluded that "current husbandry systems cause serious problems for all species of animals reared for fur.....".
- The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has established a Review Group to review all aspects of fur farming and is accepting submissions from interested parties until the end of the year with a view to making recommendations to government.
- A Private Members' Bill to ban fur farming (Fur Farming Prohibition Bill 2004) was debated in the Dáil on 22 and 23 March 2005. Although the bill was defeated by the then government's TDs 67 to 50, it won support from all opposition parties, including Fine Gael and The Labour Party.
- An opinion poll conducted in 2004 showed that 63% of people in Ireland agreed that fur farming should be banned, despite the fact that only 51% were aware that it took place.
- In 2010, 141,812 mink pelts were exported from Ireland, valued at 4.9 million Euro whilst 5,910 (444,000 Euro) were imported, showing net exports of 135,902.
- The North American Mink is an alien species to Ireland and mink attacks on wildlife and domestic animals are becoming increasingly frequent. In 2010, the Department of Agriculture planned to spend 60,000 Euro on the control of predators, including wild mink.