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Recently, I went to see a midlands fur farm, which was situated in a scenic area beside a canal. The first thing that met me was the noxious smell of effluent, and then from a bridge on the canal I could look down and see the extent of the operation, row upon row of sheds, with the confined mink throwing themselves desperately against the cages — a very distressing and depressing sight, knowing that there was nothing one could do to alleviate their torture.
Fur farming is outlawed in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but Minister for Agriculture Coveney, despite much opposition, decided not to ban it here.
He has decided to implement a code of practice for fur farms, but this won’t address the intrinsic and inherent cruelty of keeping wild animals confined in cages, and then gassing them to death at six months old to be skinned and their pelts exported for fashion items. This code of practice exhorts the operators to be “respectful of mink” and develop a “positive relationship between man and animal”.
If we as a so-called civilised country cannot legislate against this horrendous cruelty, we are sending out a message that we lack the courage to take on minority interests, that we are a gutless and backward country, which has a history of brushing unpleasant social and moral issues under the carpet.
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