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Ireland to become 15th EU country to ban fur farming

By Huw Hughes


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The Irish government has announced plans to ‘phase out’ fur farming, making the country the 15th in Europe to make such a ban.

The new bill, which was approved by the Irish cabinet on Tuesday, will make it illegal for any new fur farms to be established, while ‘phase out’ plans will be put in place to allow time for current operators to close the sector and for employees to find alternative opportunities.

While many other European countries have banned fur farming, the approach has generally been to allow a phase out period over a number of years. There are currently three mink fur farms operating in counties Donegal, Laois and Kerry which are considered as large farms producing approximately 110,000 pelts per year. The number of farms reduced from four to three in 2014.

Commenting on the decision in a statement, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “There has been considerable international and societal debate about fur farming. While the department has strengthened its controls over the sector in recent years, it is clear that there has been a shift in societal expectations in relation to the sector and recent veterinary evidence suggests that the farming of mink is counter to good animal welfare. Taking these considerations into account, it is considered timely to commence the phasing out of the industry in Ireland.”

The growth of the anti-fur movement

The anti-fur movement continues to pick up pace within the fashion industry. In recent years, leading fashion names such as Gucci, Versace, Burberry, Chanel and Jimmy Choo have all gone fur-free. In September 2018, London Fashion Week announced all its participating designers would have to slash fur from its looks in order to take part.

In April, Los Angeles became the biggest US city to ban the production and sale of fur - a ban which will take place from 2021. When it was announced, council member Bob Blumenfield, who authored the law, said in a statement: “This arcane and inhumane practice must end today. We said, loud and clear, fur will not have a future in Los Angeles. I am proud that our city made a giant step in ending the unnecessary killing of animals.”

The same month, British-born fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski launched a ‘Creatives 4 Change’ manifesto urging fashion industry professionals to stop using fur, feathers and exotic skins in editorials.

Photo credit: Unsplash

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