A number of Irish celebrities including Imelda May and actors Simon Delaney and Saoirse Ronan are among those who have put their names to a campaign to end fur farming in Ireland.
The celebs, led by Rachel Pilkington who plays Fair City's Jane, are urging Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to ban the practice which is already outlawed in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
However, Minister Coveney has so far resisted pressure to ban it here, despite only five mink farms operating around the country.
Footage emerged at the weekend purportedly showing minks held captive in cages at a farm in Co. Laois.
The minks are seen repeatedly throwing themselves at the bars of the cage in an effort to break free.
A National Animal Rights Association protest took place outside the farm last weekend and Aideen Yourell of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS), who was present, described it as "very distressing and depressing".
She said: "The Minister is proposing a so-called code of practice for fur farms, but this won’t address the intrinsic and inherent cruelty of confining wild animals in cages, and then gassing them to death at six months old.
"If we, as a supposedly 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," she added.
Imelda May - who recently played a critically acclaimed show at the Live at the Marquee series in Cork - said last year: "Fur farming is a shameful, cruel industry that has no place in modern Ireland. Please make Irish people proud and enact an immediate ban."
Love/Hate actor Robert Sheehan, Father Ted's Mrs. Doyle star Pauline McLynn and musician Sharon Shannon have also voiced their support for the ICABS campaign.
Minister Coveney commented in 2013 that fur farming was an industry he didn't like on a personal level "but that doesn’t meant I should be banning it".
Independent TD Clare Daly said: "Fur farming is inherently cruel and inhumane. An outright ban on fur farming is the only choice that is compatible with animal welfare."
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