Historic ban on fur farming
I warmly welcome this move to outlaw fur farming in Ireland and I want to congratulate my colleague Minister Charlie McConologue for securing Cabinet approval for the drafting of this Bill.
This piece of legislation is important and progressive, and will, I believe, be supported by the vast majority of the general public. The Green Party has long called for it, and support has been expressed too by by many animal welfare groups as well as by the representative body for veterinary surgeons in Ireland, Veterinary Ireland.
I know of course that there are now just three active farms in the State that breed and rear mink for the purposes of pelting for the fur industry, but, in calling for the ban, Veterinary Ireland has said that no welfare standards or inspection regimes can prevent welfare problems being encountered regularly on fur farms. These farms cannot provide for the five freedoms of mink, particularly in relation to the need to express normal behaviours. I think we need to be cogniscent of that.
While I know this is a very emotive issue for many, I believe we must acknowledge that it is the only way to go. After all, in the past, occasions on which some well-meaning individuals released farmed mink resulted in catastrophic destruction to some of our wildlife. We cannot risk this again which is another reason I am delighted to be part of the Government which will see this historic development come to pass. It’s something the Greens supported on a phased basis back in 2009. Now we will finally see it come to pass.