Ireland Bans Fur, Joining 15 Other European Countries
Fur is officially yesterday’s news. Ireland just signed a ban on fur farming, becoming the 15th country in the EU to make fur a thing of the past. Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins signed the bill into law after the Irish Seanad (or Senate) passed the legislation last month.
"Banning fur farming is a vital step in the protection of animal welfare and puts us in line with similar legislation being implemented across Europe,” Green Party Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Senator Pippa Hackett said. "These farms cannot provide for the five freedoms of animal welfare," she added since "no welfare standards or inspection regimes can prevent welfare problems being encountered regularly on fur farms."
Recently, Ireland’s government has fought against the fur farming industry which was once a larger part of its overall economy, as Green Party politicians campaigned for the ethical treatment of animals. The new law will shut down the country’s remaining three mink farms. In 2015, the Humane Society International (HSI) reported that 42.6 million mink, 2.7 million foxes, 155,000 raccoons, and 206,000 chinchillas were killed for fur in Europe.
A poll conducted by Red-C and Respect for Animals found that 80 percent of Irish citizens wanted fur farming to be banned. The Green Party took partial credit for this win against animal cruelty.
“Animal welfare is an issue which has always been at the heart of Green Party policy, and the ban on fur farming is one of a number of key policies which would help to protect animals in Ireland and improve their treatment in a tangible way,” Senator Pauline O'Reilly said.
By ending fur farming practices, the Irish government hopes to promote animal welfare and reduce the environmental impact of factory-farmed animals. The Fur Free Alliance claims more than 95 percent of the fur pelts sold around the world are sourced from farmed animals. Campaign leaders and organizers celebrate this victory in Ireland, but note that there is more to do to completely stop the production and sale of farmed animal pelts.
“This is a historic day for animal welfare in the Republic of Ireland.” Fur Free Alliance board member and Director at Respect for Animals Mark Glover said. “I have been involved in the campaign to end fur farming in Ireland for over 15 years so this ban is long overdue, but it is fantastic news for all compassionate people."
Bur Bans Across Europe and the US
Ireland’s fur ban is the most recent development of the greater European campaign against fur farming. Late last year, Italy approved a budget that would allow the country to close fur farming within the year. Last summer, Estonia became the 15th country – along with France, Hungary, and others – to fully prohibit the production of fur. Although Estonia’s new legislation will not be fully enacted until January 2026, the law is beginning to close down fur farms gradually over the next four years.
Within the US, Congress has been slow to adopt nationwide fur bans while state by state, it's only California and then individual cities that have enacted laws to ban the sales of fur. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and West Hollywood banned new fur sales paving the way for California to become the first state to do so in 2019. Cities in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Florida have since passed similar legislation. Ann Arbor, Michigan followed and retailers have been actively shunning the sale of furs including Macy's, Bloomingdales, Saks and Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman.
Even though there seems to be little traction for a federal fur ban in the US, the fashion industry is leading the movement to make fur farming obsolete in America. Most recently, Dolce & Gabbana announced that it would drop fur from its collection as the entire industry begins to adopt more ethical and sustainable alternatives.
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