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News of the Week, April 2010.

In This edition:

1. Video: Hare Dying in Hare Coursing!

2. The Ban Irish Fur Farms Campaign reaches the 10,000 signatures!

3. A Shock of Reality.

4. Barnardo Furriers court case fails again (Part 1) – 3 Court Cases, 3 Vindications. Part 1

5. Barnardo Furriers court case fails again (Part 2) – A Camera that Saw too much !

6. ALiberation now on facebook

Undercover Investigation

All known mink fur factory farms were investigated. Video footage of this was sent to ALiberation anonymously.

The investigation found out that Stereotypies is prevalent on all Irish fur factory farms.

Stereotypies is when a mink performs the same motions again and again. This is due to the suppression of basic behavioural needs. Minks need to swim, travel, hunt, climb and be alone. They are a solitary wild predator.
If this condition occurred in humans it would be called "psychotic".

(The following are quotes from the most comprehensive report into fur factory farming. This report is the “The Welfare of Animals kept for fur production by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare Report 2001”)

«Stereotypies, largely locomotor in nature, are widespread on mink farms. For example in a large scale study stereotypies were shown to occur in 31 to 85% of females…»

«The typical mink cage with a nest box and wire mesh floor impairs mink welfare because it does not provide for important needs.»

◄ Undercover Investigation - Part 1 ►

◄ Undercover Investigation - Part 2 ►

◄ Undercover Investigation - Part 3 ►

Legality of Fur Farming, Housing Regulations

Since 2000, statutory law has required that minks and foxes be housed according to their behavioural needs, under the heading "Freedom of Movement."

The following wording originates in the 1976 European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes, repeated verbatim in EC 98/58, S.I. 127/2000 and S.I. 14/2008:

"Where an animal is continuously or regularly tethered or confined, it must be given the space appropriate to its physiological and ethological٭ needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge."

The Department of Agriculture & Food is obliged to interpret and apply statutory welfare legislation, typically through standing committees.

To date, there is no record of any committee discussions on how mink/fox should be housed. Instead, the Council of Europe's 1999 minimum cage sizes are used, which were found to be inadequate two years later.

The European report on the welfare of fur-farmed animals (2001) found the current caging system "impairs mink welfare," and "the typical fox cage does not provide for important needs of foxes."

In 2005 the welfare report was brought to the attention Brendan Smith who later became the Minister of Agriculture. Brendan Smith dismissed the report on the (false) grounds that "ongoing research is required."

Despite claims that fur factory farms are monitored, the minister's office does not collect welfare inspection reports from local offices, and consequently has no information available on current mink/fox welfare problems.

The licensing system for minks does not include any welfare measures, and explicitly requires that minks be kept in escape-proof cages. Anyone may breed foxes permanently in barren cages without a license.

* Ethology is the scientific study of animal behaviour.

◄ References ►

    European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming purposes (1976)
    S.I. 127/2000 (Protection of Animals kept for farming purposes)
    S.I. 14/2008 (Welfare of farmed animals)
    The Welfare of Animals kept for fur production (2001)

◄ Gallery ►

Minks in Cages. Tazetta, Donegal.

Row of Minks in cages. Tazetta, Donegal.

Mink clawing at cage. Tazetta, Donegal.

Caged Minks. Tazetta, Donegal.

Dead mink beside fur factory farm. Vasa, Laois.

Dung built up under cages. Tazetta, Donegal.

Inside of shed of cages. Vasa, Laois.

Sheds with long rows of cages. Vasa, Laois.

Distressed mink in cage. Anderssons, Donegal.

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