Net closes on fur for fashion trade

brett mathews | 8th January 2019

DUBLIN – The net appears to be closing on the global fur for fashion trade after the ISPCA (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) called on the Irish Government to introduce an immediate ban on the practice of fur farming in Ireland. The calls follow the introduction of a fur farming ban in Serbia on January 1. A recent Veterinary Ireland report slammed the lack of welfare standards for animals farmed for fur, however, 150,000 mink are killed for their fur each year in Ireland. The American mink was brought to Ireland in the 1950s for the purposes of farming.

In the UK, fur farming has been banned in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Meanwhile, 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. Several US states have now also banned the sale of fur.

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.”