Time to ban fur farming

 

Sir, – Fair play to the Solidarity party for preparing a Bill to ban the cruel practice of fur farming in Ireland. The Bill will be introduced in the Dáil after the summer recess.

More than 200,000 mink are killed on Irish fur farms every year and their treatment cannot reasonably be likened to that of conventional farm livestock. These are wild animals, inherently unsuited to captivity, let alone to being confined in small spaces for the duration of their short lives.

The cages that hold them are each about the size of two shoe-boxes. Although mink are semi-aquatic by nature, they are denied a watery environment on the farms. Their captors feed them on bits of liquidised fish organs, which they have to “earn” by licking at these through the tops of their cages.

Mink are solitary creatures in the wild whereas on the farms they are forced to mingle and co-exist with other mink. They react against these cruel conditions by indulging in repeated self-harm and cannibalism, while also suffering from extreme levels of stress as they struggle in vain to escape.

At the age of six months, they are taken from their cages for slaughter. Up to 40 mink at a time are squeezed into the killing box, and gassed to death by carbon monoxide. The skin is then ripped from their bodies. Some mink are still alive and unconscious when removed from the box and have to be “dispatched” before skinning.

This is definitely not a humane farming practice. It came close to being banned in 2010 but the legislation didn’t go through owing to the collapse of the Fianna Fáil/Green coalition. We earnestly appeal to the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to respond to the Solidarity Bill by putting an immediate end to this practice. Those animals shouldn’t have to endure one more day of the hell on earth that is fur farming. – Yours, etc,

JOHN FITZGERALD,

Callan,

Co Kilkenny.