ARAN, Respect for Animals and the Animal, Anima and Fur Free Alliance (FFA) have released the findings of a new 2011 undercover investigation into Ireland's shameful fur factory farms, showing that yet again, animal suffering, is still very much business as usual. The recently obtained footage from an Irish mink farm, reveals images of animal suffering, including painful injuries on mink's tails; cramped, aged and filthy cages riddled with the animal faeces, and more shockingly the images of stressed, traumatised and balding animals; which spotlights the stereotypical behaviour associated with intensive farming. Ireland's government are seeking submissions into Irish fur farms which close on December 31. The campaign received impressive media coverage including a full page exclusive article in the Irish Daily Mirror with a follow up from Irish newspaper, Foinse, radio stations such as Ocean FM, Highland Radio, Radio Kerry and Near FM also covering the issue. To launch the campaign, a giant mobile billboard shadowed the Department of Agriculture in Dublin with a message 'FUR FARMING: TIME FOR A BAN', before taking to the streets to garner public support. Click here to see the billboard in action.
Ireland's outspoken vet on animal welfare, Peter Wedderburn had the following to say upon reviewing the footage. "In the video footage of the mink farm, there were several aspects that cause specific concerns. The animals seem to be kept at a high stocking rate, causing forced proximity to one another, with consequent social pressures that lead to repeated bouts of fighting. Episodes of fighting are demonstrated on the video. This in turn results in physical injuries, with one mink shown to have an open wound on its tail and another with the end of its tail completely severed. The mink cages have wire mesh flooring. This may be convenient from a management point of view to prevent body waste accumulating, but from an animal welfare perspective, a solid floor is preferable. Wire mesh can be a stressful underfoot surface, requiring the animal to choose its footing carefully to avoid the feet slipping through the gaps, and the narrow gauge of the wire can lead to pressure sores on the feet. Farmed animals should be given the opportunity to express natural behaviours, and it’s difficult to see how this is possible for the mink in the video. They are enclosed in a small, empty space, with no other objects or activities for them to engage with. This is likely to create serious ongoing stress. The gross accumulation of matted faeces in and around the cages is indicative of a poor level of hygiene, with increased risk of ill health as a consequence."