The Irish Government is under strong pressure to back a bill to ban fur farming proposed by Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger or, alternatively, to bring in its own bill. The prohibition of fur farming bill now has the support from across the opposition, including Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, Labour, Independents 4 Change, the Green Party and the Social Democrats, and will be debated in the Dáil on July 3.

An opinion poll by Red-C, commissioned by Respect for Animals in October 2018 found that 80% of people in Ireland want fur farming to be banned.

A fur farm ban was recommended by Veterinary Ireland in December 2018. A report by Veterinary Ireland, which represents vets throughout Ireland, considered all the scientific evidence and concluded that, on animal welfare grounds, ‘there should be an immediate ban on the farming of mink, and similar wild animals, for the production of fur’.

The Government’s shift in policy towards supporting a ban on fur farming in response to this pressure is strongly welcomed and Respect for Animals looks forward to the day when fur farming in Ireland is a thing of the past.

There are currently three mink factory farms in Ireland – a decline from five in the last decade. These three units breed and kill approximately 150,000 mink a year in small, barren wire cages under intensive conditions.

Economic records show that the industry has low and declining economic value in Ireland.

Respect for Animals notes that continued claims by Government ministers that there are 100 people employed in Ireland’s fur industry do not square with official inspectorate records. Actually, the most recent records put the number of people working on the fur farms at 52.

Fur farming bans are spreading rapidly and, without urgent legislation, Ireland risks being left behind as one of the few European countries to allow this barbaric practice.

Country after country has phased out or banned fur farming, including the UK, Austria, the Netherlands, Croatia, Slovenia, Norway, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Belgium, North Macedonia, Serbia, Germany – with others set to follow in the coming years.

In addition, a number of US cities have introduced sales bans on real fur, with similar proposals currently being considered for the State of California and New York City. In recent years the majority of major fashion houses have gone fur free, including Prada and Mulberry in recent weeks.

The campaign has been energised by the animal advocacy group NARA, who have organised weekly protests, leaflet campaigns and put considerable pressure on politicians to consider the issue carefully.

Respect for Animals campaigns director, Mark Glover, says: ‘We are waiting to see the details of the Government’s new plans, but this has to be considered a good moment for animals. I have campaigned against the cruel and unnecessary fur trade for many years, seeing first hand how fur factory farming is a morally bankrupt industry. The sooner it is ended in Ireland the better. The work of NARA, Ruth Coppinger and her team, as well as the support of the Fur Free Alliance has been invaluable to this campaign. The day when we can finally add Ireland to the growing list of countries who have banned fur farming feels very close.’

Laura Broxson, spokesperson for Ireland’s National Animal Rights Association (NARA), said: "Its been a great team effort, and we are all extremely grateful to Ruth Coppinger TD of Solidarity for bringing this to a government level. In 2019, it is unacceptable for the fur industry to continue. It has no place in the modern, progressive and compassionate Ireland that exists today, and we hope that Fine Gael ensure that this industry is swiftly shut down rather than dragging it on in a lengthy phase-out. Ideally, we believe they should discuss the issue with Solidarity first, before putting forward their own legislation."

ENDS

For more information, please contact Respect for Animals at 0115 9525 440 or Mark Glover on 07850 768337 or info@respectforanimals.org

NOTES:

NARA has been at the forefront of the campaign in Ireland. In January 2018, it organised Ireland's very first ‘March to Ban Fur Farming’, which was a huge success and was supported by a number of TDs. From that point onward, they travelled the country with its ‘Ban Fur Farming Campaign Tour’ - covering 26 counties and 40 towns, as well as protesting outside the Dept. of Agriculture on Kildare Street every week. In total, it has organised over 120 events, distributed over 76,000 leaflets,  collected thousands of signatures on petitions, and made sure every TD in the country was contacted about this issue - via our daily ‘Action Alerts’.

More information about fur farming can be found in Respect for Animals’ comprehensive scientific review ‘The Case Against Fur Factory Farming’, which was launched at the European Parliament. http://www.respectforanimals.org/report-from-respect-for-animals-makes-case-for-ban-on-fur-farming-in-europe/

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