22 November 2000
Fur farmers face uncertain future
By FWi staff
A BILL outlawing fur farming is likely to be approved by the House of Commons on Wednesday (22 November).
If passed, the Fur Farming Prohibition Bill to outlaw fur farming in England and Wales will come into effect on 1 January, 2003.
It would follows a 15-year campaign by pressure group Respect for Animals and make Britain the first country in the world to introduce a fur farm ban.
Fur farmer Len Kelsall told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme that claims of cruelty were ill-founded.
He said Ministry of Agriculture vets found nothing wrong with conditions, after which the Government shifted its opposition from welfare to morality grounds.
If the Bill is passed, fur farmers face a precarious future, warned Mr Kelsall.
While the Government will probably place a compulsory purchase order on farmers, they cannot resume their trade elsewhere in the UK.
Mr Kelsall said: “Farmers who have never done anything else for 30 or 40 years cannot go and set up in their business and use their expertise. What can they do?
“They are in a very precarious position and the Government has got to be fair to these guys, otherwise they dont stand a chance.”
There are 13 fur farms in England and Wales, which produce 150,000 skins for the export market. Around 8000 fur farms exist in Europe as a whole.
No fur farms exist in Scotland or Northern Ireland, although both have plans for a similar Bill.