The ISPCA has called on the Irish Government to introduce an immediate ban on the ‘cruel’ and ‘inhumane’ practice of fur farming in Ireland.
It follows the introduction of a ban in Serbia on January 1 and a recent Veterinary Ireland report that criticised the lack of welfare standards for animals farmed for fur.
Fur farming has already been banned in Northern Ireland, England. Scotland and Wales, however the ISPCA says around 150,000 mink are killed in Ireland each year.
The American mink was brought to Ireland in the 1950s for the purposes of farming.
“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,” said ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly.
“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.”
The animal charity has urged Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to introduce a ban on animal welfare, ethical and moral grounds.
“It is not acceptable that every year in Ireland, approximately 150,000 of these mink are killed solely for a non-essential fashion item,” added Dr Kelly.
“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.”
An opinion poll carried out in October 2018 by Red C Research showed that eight out of 10 people in Ireland feel that farming and killing animals for their fur should be banned.
A Bill to ban fur farming in Ireland was introduced in the Dáil in October 2018 by Ruth Coppinger TD and has passed the first stage.