That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to prohibit the keeping of animals solely or primarily for slaughter for the value of their fur and to make related amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.
This Bill gives the Dáil the opportunity to ban the cruel and unethical practice of fur farming in Ireland. It is a Bill that has the active support of campaigners in Ireland and is gathering huge momentum internationally as well. I thank the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Fur Free Alliance, the National Animal Rights Association, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, Respect for Animals and many other campaigners who support this Bill and are campaigning for a ban on fur farming in Ireland. I welcome those in the Gallery who are watching the beginning of this debate today and who have been waiting anxiously for this to be raised in the Parliament.
In Ireland, fur farming is done on three farms where there are approximately 200,000 mink. In the past, there was fox farming here as well, which is still legal although it is not done at the moment. I emphasise that mink are not domesticated animals and they fear humans. All other farmed animals generally are domesticated and do not fear humans in their daily contact. The EU Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare has described fur farming as inherently unethical and stated that it is not possible to stop it being cruel through regulation.
Mink are native to North America and Russia. They are semi-aquatic and live as solo hunters. In fur farms, they are kept in cages and away from what would be considered their natural habitat. Given that they are ferocious hunters-----