On Wednesday 2 February 2022, the evening session of the Dáil Éireann in Ireland’s Parliament saw the report and final stages of the Bill which will finally outlaw fur farming in the Republic of Ireland.
The Bill had been subject to some delay after the government decided to add legislation concerning forestry, which had nothing to do with the fur farming aspect but required further scrutiny. The ban on fur farming was never in doubt and attracted wide support from all around the house.
The Animal Health and Welfare and Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 now passes to the upper house of parliament, the Seanad (Senate), which generally only has powers to delay rather than veto. It is expected that the bill will pass smoothly and will then progress to be signed into law by the President.
Successive governments had pledged to ban fur farming in Ireland for some years, after a campaign co-led by Respect for Animals. As we reported previously, the fur farming ban formed a part of the programme for government and was listed as a priority bill when the 2021 new year’s legislative programme was published.
Public opinion was demonstrated by the results of an independently conducted opinion poll by Red-C and commissioned by Respect for Animals. The poll found that 80% of people in the Republic of Ireland want fur farming to be banned.
The cruelty of the fur industry was further exposed by the publication of a report from Veterinary Ireland. The report considered all the scientific evidence and concluded that, on animal welfare grounds, ‘there should be an immediate ban on the farming of mink, and similar wild animals, for the production of fur’. Veterinary Ireland’s report relied on a comprehensive scientific review published by Respect for Animals, The Case Against Fur Factory Farming, which was launched at the European Parliament.
During the debate on Wednesday night, Deputy Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said:
“Without a doubt, [the fur industry] has outlived its relevance in modern society in terms of our approach and attitudes to animal welfare standards”
Deputy Holly Cairns said:
“I welcome the Bill’s other purpose of phasing out fur farming and prohibiting the raising of animals for the purpose of using their skin for fur. This is a practice most people strongly oppose and the Bill allows for those affected to be compensated in moving to other methods of farming. That is a just transition and is very welcome.”