“Britain doesn’t need rabbit meat and fur farms, we don’t need to find new ways to exploit animals for our stomachs or our wardrobes.”
Ricky Gervais has backed a petition against plans for an intensive rabbit farming facility in Coleshill, Amersham.
The site will reportedly house up to 250 does and breed 10,000 rabbits each year.
The application has been proposed by Phil Kerry, who owns T&S Nurseries. He has also proposed similar schemes at sites in Rutland and Buckinghamshire.
The application to open these three “ranches” if approved could lead to 30,000 rabbits being slaughtered each year.
The Amersham petition, which has already garnered more than 40000 signatures, was launched after the company submitted an application to gain permission to build a property for rural workers at Magpie Lane in Coleshill.
‘New ways to exploit animals’
Calling for the plan to be scrapped, animal advocate Ricky Gervais told The Mirror: “Britain doesn’t need rabbit meat and fur farms, we don’t need to find new ways to exploit animals for our stomachs or our wardrobes.
“If these plans go ahead it will mean thousands of baby rabbits bred and taken from hundreds of mother rabbits who are treated like breeding machines.”
He added: “Britain banned fur farming two decades ago because it’s cruel, so allowing these would bring back fur farming by the back door.
“That’s outrageous and I hope the councils listen.”
Gervais’ concerns have been echoed by other animal welfare organisations.
A spokesperson for Animal Aid said: “We should be clear about what the farm is for. It is to breed rabbits to be slaughtered at a very young age for their meat and fur.
“We understand that fur could likely be produced as a ‘by-product’ which is highly distasteful and ‘fur farming by the back door’.”
Emily Wilson from Four Paws UK, added: “It is incredibly worrying that in this day and age there have been any applications for a rabbit farm. That one individual has applied for three separate farms, is even more alarming.
“We successfully campaigned for many years to remove intensively farmed rabbit meat from appearing in pet food on supermarket shelves but worry that these applications will undo that hard work.
“Furthermore, the applicant’s website references fur sales which goes against what we as a global animal welfare organisation believe.”
Rabbit farm ‘franchiser’ T&S already operates several sites across the UK selling meat and live rabbits to wholesalers.
A loophole also allows it to produce and sell rabbit fur as a ‘byproduct’ of its meat production despite the country banning fur farming since 2003.
Kerry, who expects to sell 700 fur accessories at each new facility each year said the demand for the products has been “extremely strong and increasing over many years”.
He added that “surprising new routes to market” have also emerged during the pandemic.
Speaking to the Mirror, he explained: “Welfare of animals is a priority.
“Fur is secondary to meat production – we don’t slaughter animals for pelts, that would be illegal.
“We used to throw pelts away but it doesn’t make financial sense as they have a value and it shows honour to the animal to use every part. I know there’s opposition but, in my view, it’s hollow and doesn’t really mean much.”
You can sign the petition here.
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