The Guardian has reported that a Lincolnshire based farmer has lodged a planning application for six ‘rabbit farms’ across the UK. He wants to rear up to 1000 rabbits at each facility in caged barn systems, mainly for meat (sent to slaughter at 12 weeks old) and also some angora rabbits for fur. Keeping animals solely for their fur is illegal in the UK, but it can still be sold as a by-product of meat production.
The Ecologist picked up on the story and linked it to undercover footage of Portuguese rabbit farming taken in 2006. You can see the video here. It is shocking viewing and I really wouldn’t recommend watching it whilst eating your lunch like I did.
The fur industry is one part of ethical fashion that I don’t know much about. Sales of fur actually WENT UP last year, despite it being increasingly seen as cruel. I can take on board all of the arguments for fur – fur is ok if the animal is being killed for meat anyway – fur is ok if it’s vintage – fur is ok if the animals have been treated well, but generally I don’t think any of these are good excuses. We just don’t need to wear fur anymore, we’re not cave people. I think I was particularly shocked by this video because it was so bizarre seeing little rabbits treated like that. I’ve seen plenty of images of battery hens (and I always buy free range) but not rabbits. And it’s not shocking just because they are cute rabbits, no animals should be treated this way. But then I do wear leather shoes?