Despite a recommendation by the last government for a ban of fur farming, a review conducted by the Department of Agriculture has determined that the industry should be allowed to continue and potentially expand in the Republic of Ireland.
The ban was recommended on welfare grounds and should have gone into effect at the end of this month, effectively shutting down the five licensed mink farms in Ireland located in Donegal, Kerry, Laois and Sligo.
Unfortunately, the Fur Farming Review Group, which was established last year by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, made the opposite recommendation.
The group determined that not only should it not be banned, but it should be open to new entrants. Now it appears the decision is also being justified with further recommendations to improve welfare by doubling inspections and using”best practices” to kill mink in order to minimize suffering.
There are currently an estimated 225,000 mink living on these farms who are typically killed in batches by being gassed with either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide.
Proponents of the fur industry are calling the move a sensible one, citing the state of the economy. However, putting the brakes on a ban will only save 62 jobs and bring in a few million in exports, which the review group called “modest” in national terms, while causing immeasurable suffering to the animals involved and adding to environmental pollution from the fur farms themselves and from the chemicals used to process pelts for nothing more than human vanity.
Animal advocacy groups and individuals are disappointed with the decision, while other groups, including Bird Watch Ireland are worried about the problems that ground nesting birds will face if mink escape or are set free, reports the BBC.
The CEO of the ISPCA Noel Griffin stated that the group remains completely opposed to fur farming and that animals should not be killed just for their fur or be kept in cages that restrict their natural behavior.
Fur farming has been banned in Northern Ireland, the UK, Scotland, Austria and Croatia, while other locations have bans or regulations on certain types of animals and traps.
Photo credit: Network for Animal Freedom