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18 April 2001 Issue
Britain Bans Fur Farms

by Mark Glover, Respect For Animals
Taken From The Animals' Agenda - January/February 2001

The British government's bill to ban fur farming has, at last, become law. The ban marks a significant milestone in a 15-year campaign against the U.K. fur trade led by Respect for Animals (formerly Lynx) and supported by several groups.

The final parliamentary stages were heard on November 22, and Royal Ascent was given the next day. The Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act bans the keeping or breeding of animals "for slaughter.for the value of their fur" and will apply to England and Wales. The Scottish and Northern Irish legislatures have both indicated their intentions to bring in their own bans, although there are no fur farms in either jurisdiction.

The ban will end for farming by the end of 2003, but most farms will likely close sooner. The law contains a provision for compensating those affected following a consultation periods and an audit of their businesses.

Only 13 fur farms will be directly affected by he ban, but the passage of the Westminster legislation could set a significant precedent. The Netherlands, in particular, has shown great interest in how it has come about and is being encouraged to follow suit. The second biggest breeder of mink in the world, the Netherlands has already outlawed fox and chinchilla farming, and the Dutch Parliament has voted to ban mink breeding as well. Now it is hoped that the Ministry of Agriculture will do likewise.

During the final debate in Britain, the few opponents of the bell forced the only vote during its progress on a technicality. Of the 330 Members of Parliament present, all but 27 demonstrated their support for the ban. Elliot Morley, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, explained why the government felt so strongly about the issue of fur factory farming and why it was banning it. "We are introducing the Bill because fur farming is a moral issue; opposition to such
farming is based on morality," Morley said. "The fur farming industry does not provide for basic needs and does not justify the killing of an animal. In a modern society, for farming has no justification in terms of need."

During it's prolonged campaign against fur farming, Respect for Animals undertook a number of undercover investigations. Such evidence led directly to the only prosecutions for cruelty of anyone involved in U.K. for farming, and included the only film of animals being slaughtered on a British fur farm. A man was videotaped gassing the mink as well as seen punching and smashing the animals on the floor and against the killing box. Scenes such as these undoubtedly contributed to the political will against fur farming.

“Reprinted with permission from The Animals’ Agenda, P.O. Box 25881,
Baltimore, MD 21224; (410) 675-4566; www.animalsagenda.org.”
Email: office@animalsagenda.org

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