AN IRISH ACTRESS is leading a campaign for an immediate ban on the practice of fur factory farming in Ireland and has garnered the support of a number of high-profile actors and filmmakers including Amy Huberman, Saoirse Ronan and Simon Delaney.
Rachel Pilkington, who was a regular on Glenroe and later The Clinic, has started a campaign to have the practice of breeding and raising certain animals such as mink and foxes for their fur to be banned.
“It is a deplorable practice which is both archaic and barbaric in nature. And it is utterly immoral to allow it to continue,” the Tipperary native told TheJournal.ie claiming that an estimated 225,000 animals are killed annually between the five farms that operate in Ireland.
The practice of fur farming is currently banned in Austria, Croatia, and the UK. The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has commissioned a review group to examine the issue of fur farming and consider its economic benefits and the current effectiveness of animal welfare controls.
A report by Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) last year uncovered the practices in one mink farm which TV vet and animal welfare activist, Peter Wedderburn said were particularly concerning. ”They are enclosed in a small, empty space, with no other objects or activities for them to engage with,” he said of the mink.
“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.”
Pilkington pictured with fellow The Clinic star Leigh Arnold who has also lent her support to the campaign (James Horan/Photocall Ireland)
Tipperary native Pilkington says she became interested in the issue after taking part in a protest organised by ARAN outside Coveney’s constituency office in Cork last month.
She has managed to secure the support of many of the actors, writers and directors she has worked with in the past and plans to continue spreading her message until the law is changed in Ireland.
“They [actors and filmmakers] were all as equally appalled as I was and many were genuinely unaware that such a practice was still legal here. They all gave me full permission to share their names and firm opposition to this farming practice on a public level,” Pilkington said.
“This campaign has only just begun but I know for a fact we represent thousands upon thousands of other Irish people who also oppose this cruelty,” she added.