Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill — 5 Mar 1999

Order for Second Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Before making my introductory remarks, I should make a declaration of interest. Since 1 January 1999, I have received staff assistance from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Respect for Animals in preparing the Bill and dealing with issues arising directly from my choice of subject for my private Member's Bill.

I am grateful for my good fortune--at least, many say that it is good fortune, although over the past few days I have been wondering quite how good it is--in coming so high in the private Members' ballot and so having a chance to present my Bill to the House. Like all those who have had the same opportunity, I spent many difficult hours deciding how to use it. Finally, I decided to deal with a small matter. Fur farming is no longer a massive industry in this country, but it is one that is controversial in many ways: many object to it and believe that it perpetrates cruelty to the animals involved. My Bill would prohibit fur farming in this country.

Fur farming has been going on in Great Britain for 70 years. It began in this country in 1929 and still exists here, albeit in a small way. There are now 11 fur farmers and 13 fur farms remaining, all in England. That represents a precipitate decline in numbers over the past 30 years or so, as, back in the 1960s, there were 700 fur farms. As far as the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and I are aware, the only animal still farmed in this country is mink. Mink are not indigenous to this country, but are natives of north America.

Fur farming is the intensive breeding of essentially wild animals, mink in this country and other animals elsewhere, although until recently fox, too, was farmed in this country. Because the animals have to be kept and bred intensively, they are kept in relatively small cages

5 Mar 1999 : Column 1332

and are unable to exhibit their natural behaviour.They live relatively short lives in some distress prior to being slaughtered for their fur.

I do not know which mink farm he visited, but it struck me that, when he drove up the M1, he must have taken the turning marked "Fantasy Island", because his is not the sort of description that one readily associates with a mink farm, on which animals live in wire cages.

Question put, That the Question be now put:--

The House divided: Ayes 127, Noes 4.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (Aye)Minority (No)BothTurnout
Con6 4 (+2 tell)07.4%
DUP1 0050.0%
Independent1 00100.0%
Lab115 (+2 tell) 0028.1%
LDem4 008.7%
Total:127 4021.5%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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