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Fur Farming Ban – U-Turn by Stealth?
national | animal rights | press release Thursday December 22, 2011 12:43 by ALiberation - ALiberation aliberationnow at gmail dot com www.aliberation.org 086 3203643
(Please send in a submission to ban fur farming to firstname.lastname@example.org See bottom of article for Dept of Agriculture Notice. This still isn’t on their website.) The animal rights group ALiberation have compiled a list of things that has happened in relation to the proposed ban of fur farming since the current government has come into office. (See Below)
Press Release: Fur Farming Ban – U-Turn by Stealth? -19/11/2011
Contact: Jim Walsh
Ph: 086 3203643
(Please send in a submission to ban fur farming to email@example.com. Please also cc firstname.lastname@example.org in the submission. See bottom of article for Dept of Agriculture Notice. This still isn’t on their website.)
The animal rights group ALiberation have compiled a list of things that has happened in relation to the proposed ban of fur farming since the current government has come into office. (See Below)
Spokesperson for the group, Jim Walsh said. ““Looking at the trend of events, the only conclusion we can draw is that there is an attempt to block the ban of fur farming. Basic questions are not being answered by the Minister about what has happened since he has come to office. Why have these questions gone unanswered?”
Jim Walsh further said “There is a trend of events that drives a wedge between the Fur Farming Ban and the Animal Health and Welfare Bill. First, the wording is dropped; Secondly Minister McEntee wants to give guarantees to the fur farmers in person; Thirdly, the incompatible dates of the submissions with the expected publication of the Bill; And Finally the lack of any answers about why all of these things have happened. Is this government about to perform a U-Turn and try to block the fur farming ban by stealth?”
He continued “Fur farming is a symptom of how we view other animals. Fur farming is a symptom of speciesism. Nobody needs to wear animal fur. The fur industry involves caging animals for their whole miserable existence until they are then killed for their skins.” “Right now it’s legal to have fur farms in Ireland. What that incorrectly suggests is that the people of Ireland think it’s more important to have a fashion item than bother about the lives and pain of all these animals. But that’s not what the public thinks. We expect that elected public representatives will represent the public in this matter. Fur farming is an animal rights violation, it is cruel and the majority of people want it to stop.”Questions for the Minister
1) What guarantees has Minister McEntee given to the fur farmers?
2) Why were the words “To ban fur farming” deleted from the explanation of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill as it moved through the publishing process?
3) Why could Minister McEntee state with confidence that he wanted to give guarantees to fur farmers and that the review is to be completed shortly even though this was three weeks before a notice from the Dept of Agriculture appeared in newspapers looking for submissions from the public about fur farming?
4) The closing date for the submissions for the “Fur Farming Review” is the 31/12/2011. The Taoiseach stated he expects the Animal Health and Welfare Bill to be published before Christmas. How are these dates compatible with including a ban of fur farming? Or is this a way to block the ban by stealth?
5) Will a ban on fur farming be included in the first publication of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill? This is where it belongs now. If the review finds something new then this is the appropriate time to change what is in the Bill not before.
6) Is there a plan to block the ban of fur factory farming in Ireland? If not why is no answer forthcoming to all the above questions?Timeline of events
May 2011 - the current government stated in relation to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill that the "purpose of the bill" was "to consolidate and update existing legislation in the areas of animal health and welfare, including the repeal of several extant statutes, the responsibility for the welfare of all animals within the Department and to ban fur farming”. This statement is included at the “Bills in respect of which heads have been agreed and texts are being drafted” stage of the “Government Legislation Programme” This stage is also referred to as “Section B” 
June 2nd 2011 – Any questions about banning fur farms are now met with a vague statement about “fur farming is being examined in the context of the ongoing drafing of the Bill.”
This becomes the standard response to any queries about fur farms “It is my intention to publish the Animal Health & Welfare Bill this year. However, as the Deputy will be aware the Bill is a complex one and will require extensive work in conjunction with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to complete the required legal drafting. Once a complete draft is available I intend to publish the Bill. The issue of fur farming is being examined in the context of the ongoing drafting of the Bill.” 
14th Sept - when the Bill moved to the “Bills expected to be published from the start of the Dáil session to the beginning of the next session” stage or “Section A” the “purpose of the bill” changed to “To consolidate and update existing legislation in the areas of animal health and welfare, including the repeal of several extant statutes and the responsibility for the welfare of all animals within the Department”  The words “and to ban fur farming” are no longer there. Yet the answers to questions about a ban of fur farming are still that “The issue of fur farming is being examined in the context of the ongoing drafting of the Bill.”  No answer has yet been received as to why these words were deleted. 25th August – Minister McEntee tells the Seanad that “I am currently in the process of having a new animal health and welfare Bill drafted….”. He goes on to say that “The Minister, Deputy Coveney, has established a group within my Department to review all aspects of fur farming and I expect this review to be completed shortly.”
Minister McEntee finishes his speech by saying “It is crucial that we have that meeting and that the fur farmers get the guarantees they are looking for.”  Again no answer has yet been received as to what guarantees the Minister feels confident about giving the fur farmers in person.
16th September - A notice from the Department of Agriculture titled “Fur Farming Review” appeared in newspapers looking for submissions from the public about Fur Farming with “a closing date for receipt of submissions of 31st December 2011.”  Yet Minister McEntee told the Seanad 3 weeks earlier that he “expected the review to be completed shortly”. The closing date adds another 2 and ½ months to the completion of the review and this isn’t counting the extra time to review the submissions. Why are submissions now been looked 3 weeks after Minister McEntee felt confident enough of his position to give guarantees which the fur farmers are looking for? But not confident enough to answer repeated questions about what guarantees these are?
22nd November - In answer to a Parliamentary Question, Minister Coveney, who has voted to ban fur farms in the past said “It is my intention to publish an Animal Health & Welfare Bill shortly. …….. Once a complete draft is available I intend to publish the Bill. I have established a group within my Department to review all aspects of fur farming and have invited interested parties to make submissions. I anticipate that their review will be completed in the near future.” 
This is already 3 months after Minister McEntee’s expectation that “this review” will “be completed shortly” and over a month before the closing date for submissions from the public for the Fur Farming Review without adding the time needed to go through the submissions.
22nd November - The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and leader of Fine Gael replied to a question in the Dail in Irish “Is fíor go bhfoilseófar an Bille faoi chaighdeán maireachtála na n-ainmhithe roimh an Nollaig.” Which translated into English reads “It is true that the Animal Bill will be published before Christmas.”
If the closing date for submissions of the “Fur Farming Review” is the 31/12/2011 and the Animal Health and Welfare Bill is due to be published before the 25/11/2011 how are these dates compatible?
29th November – The standard reply to any questions about banning fur farming has now changed to “I have established a Review Group in my Department to review all aspects of fur farming. Submissions have been invited on the review with a 31 December 2011 closing date for receipt of submissions. I will consider what action, if any, to take following the submission of the Review Group’s findings.” Does the “action, if any” mean that the ban will be included or not included in the publication of the Bill. Considering that the Ban of Fur Farming is included in the Bill and no explanation has been forthcoming as to why it may have been dropped in Section A of the Government Legislation Programme then surely it should be included. If not then why not?
20th December - Still no sign of the notice for the “Fur Farming Review” submissions on the Dept of Agriculture website.Notes:
1) Both the Labour Party and Fine Gael have voted to ban fur factory farms in the past including the current leaders of these parties 
2) Simon Coveney, The Minister of the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has also voted to ban fur farming in the past. The Department of Agriculture gives our licences to the mink farmers and is also the department currently drafting the Animal Health and Welfare Bill.
3) Minister McEntee, is a Minister of State attached to the Dept of Agriculture. He stated that he is “currently in the process of having a new Animal Health and Welfare Bill drafted” , and has a huge influence over whether or not fur farming will be banned in Ireland.
4) Minister McEntee told the Seanad in August that “It is crucial that we have that meeting and that the fur farmers get the guarantees they are looking for”  What guarantees and why?
5) In the same speech on the 25/10/2011, Minister McEntee stated that “The Minister, Deputy Coveney, has established a group within my Department to review all aspects of fur farming and I expect this review to be completed shortly.”  Yet a notice from the Department of Agriculture titled “Fur Farming Review” appeared in newspapers on the 16/11/2011 (3 weeks later) looking for submissions from the public with “a closing date for receipt of submissions of 31st December 2011.”  How can both things be said and still have the Minister remain credible? Has he already made up his mind to block the ban on fur farming in Ireland?
6) Minister McEntee is known for obstructing Animal Welfare legislation and for his close ties with lobby groups who are anti-animal. Liam Cahill is the leader of the mis-named hunting lobby group RISE! (Rural Ireland Says Enough!) but is also currently working for Minister McEntee in the Department of Agriculture. The Minister is also reported to have a RISE! sticker on the back of his chauffer driven state car. 
7) Fur farming is cruel and is a rights violation and is seen as such. Animals are caged for life in tiny wire mesh cages, with their needs constantly suppressed, resulting in self mutilations, cannibalism and conditions if seen in humans would be described as psychotic.
8) The most comprehensive study into fur farming carried out by the European Commission concluded that “The typical mink cage with a nest box and wire mesh floor impairs mink welfare because it does not provide for important needs” and “The typical fox cage does not provide for important needs of foxes.”
9) Approximately 200,000 Minks, Red Foxes and Arctic Foxes are caged and killed each year on Irish fur factory farms. They are killed by either Anal Electrocution or by Poisonous Gas
10) Approximately another 50,000 animals are caged for life for breeding purposes. These animals are also later killed.
11) Many countries have already banned fur factory farming or brought in legislation which effectively bans it. Included in these countries are our closest neighbours, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.
12) The Majority of the Public want a ban on fur farms in Ireland as represented by opinion polls.
7) Irish Independent, 16/11/2011, “Fur Farming Review”
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has established a Review Group in his Department to review all aspects of fur farming. The Terms of Reference are:
1) To review fur farming in Ireland taking into account existing legislative provisions for the licensing of mink farming
2) To comment on the economic benefits of the sector
3) To consider the effectiveness of existing welfare controls, and
4) To make appropriate recommendations.
The Minister now wishes to invite submissions from interested parties, with a closing date for receipt of submissions of 31st December 2011.
Submissions from interested parties should be emailed to email@example.com or posted to Animal Health and Welfare (Ref: Fur Farming Submissions), Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, 4 Centre, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Talmhaiochta, Bia agus Mara