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ISPCA calls for immediate fur farming ban in Ireland after Serbia ban and Veterinary Ireland report

3 JANUARY 2019

Today, 3rd January 2019, the ISPCA, as a member of the Fur Free Alliance, is calling on Minister Michael Creed, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to introduce an immediate ban on fur farming in Ireland and for a #FURFREEIRELAND based on animal welfare, ethical and moral grounds.

A Red C Research poll carried out in October 2018 showed that 8 out of 10 people in Ireland feel that farming and killing of animals for their fur should be banned.

On the 21st December 2018, Veterinary Ireland, the representative body for Irish veterinary surgeons published its policy on fur farming in Ireland and called for an immediate ban. The ISPCA agrees with Veterinary Ireland’s conclusions based on scientific evidence that basic levels of welfare cannot be met for animals on fur farms, even under the European fur industry’s flawed “WelFur Scheme”. The ISPCA also welcomes the ban on fur farming in Luxembourg in 2018 and congratulates Serbia on becoming the latest country to adopt a ban (from 1st January 2019) in line with developments across Europe and globally.

ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said:  "There is overwhelming scientific evidence outlined in the Fur Free Ireland Briefing Document that fur farming is cruel. There are three fur farms in Ireland located in Donegal, Kerry and Laois containing up to 200,000 mink, farmed in tiny, wire mesh battery cages (typically measuring 90x30x45cm) only to suffer a cruel and inhumane death by gassing. 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. Mink are semi-aquatic and highly evolved physiologically to hold their breath, so they are prone to hypoxia meaning they will potentially suffer during gassing”.

Andrew added:  “It is not acceptable that every year in Ireland, approximately 150,000 of these mink are killed solely for a non-essential fashion item.  The ISPCA welcomes the recent statement from Veterinary Ireland recommending an immediate ban on the farming of mink, and other wild animals, and we urge the Irish government to introduce a ban without further delay to put an end to this inhumane practice. In a recent consultation on the government’s future animal welfare strategy, the Department of Agriculture committed to build an animal welfare strategy that would allow Ireland to be recognised for its high animal welfare standards. This cannot be achieved until fur farming is consigned to the history books”. 

In the past twelve months, Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg adopted legislation to end fur farming and currently Ireland is on the parliamentary agenda along with Poland, Denmark, Lithuania and Estonia. 

The ISPCA urges the Irish government to introduce a ban without further delay.

Visit www.ispca.ie/furfreeireland to learn more about fur farming in Ireland and post on social media using the hashtag #FurFreeIreland to show your support for a ban on fur farming in Ireland!

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT FUR FARMING:

  • An opinion poll commissioned by Respect for Animals of people in Ireland was conducted by Red C Research in October 2018 showed that 80% agree that farming and killing of animals for their fur in Ireland should be banned. The weight of public support for a ban on fur farming in Ireland is clear.
  • Fur farming does not comply with either European Directive 98/58/EC (concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes) or the Council of Europe recommendation concerning fur animals which states that:  ‘No animal shall be kept for farming purposes unless it can be reasonably expected, on the basis of its genotype or phenotype, that it can be kept without detrimental effect on its health or welfare’.
  • The Fur Free Alliance (FFA) is an international coalition of more than 40 animal protection organisations working together to end the exploitation and killing of animals for fur.  The FFA represents millions of supporters worldwide and focuses on the deprivation and cruelty suffered by fur-bearing animals both in wild trapping and industrial fur farming.  The ISPCA, and Respect for Animals, both members of the FFA held a press conference on 14th November 2018 calling on a ban.  Learn more about FFA.
  • Fur farming was banned in England and Wales in 2000, and in Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2002.  The bans were achieved on the basis that fur farming is at odds with public morality.
  • In July 2013, the Journal newspaper conducted an online poll asking: ‘Should we ban fur farming in Ireland?’  79% of more than 13,000 respondents said ‘Yes’.
  • In 2009, a report from the Irish Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government highlighted that invasive American mink populations are well established in Ireland as a result of escapes from fur farms, some of which still operate.
  • Fur farming has been a destructive pathway for the introduction of invasive alien species, such as American mink, which can cause significant damage to native biodiversity as well as a threat to livestock on local small holdings.  The American mink is listed as one of the world’s worst 100 invasive non-native species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • Governments around Europe are legislating to end this cruel practice, which contravenes the European Directive concerning the animals kept for farming purposes and the Council of Europe recommendation concerning fur animals. 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.”
  • The Prohibition of the Fur Farming Bill was introduced to the Dáil by Deputy Ruth Coppinger, which was moved at the 1st stage on 2nd October 2018.
  • 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.
  • In Ireland, the National Biodiversity Data Centre has designated American mink as a ‘High Impact Invasive Species’
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