Tory MP's 'shameful' fur trade trip
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities
A Tory MP's decision to accept a donation to visit Denmark on a 'fur trade fact-finding trip' has been blasted as "shameful" by animal welfare activists.
Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, has explained that he dropped in on a mink farm in Copenhagen during his three-day visit to see how the creatures are kept and killed.
The MP's other activities included visiting a fur auction and a fur design studio.
The British Fur Trade Association (BFTA) has confirmed it paid for the trip after Davies expressed an interest in learning more about the trade.
Peta has called Davies' trip "shameful" and said it was "paid for by blood money".
The MP said: "People have different views. I am vehemently opposed to animal cruelty. For some people that's against animals being killed. I am not against animals being killed but people being cruel to animals.
"I think that the industry has moved on a lot in recent years. If somebody started to criticise from an uninformed position, I would feel able to add some balance to the debate.
"At no point has the BFTA asked me - and neither since my visit - to do any lobbying on their behalf and if they did ask me to I would tell them to mind their own business."
According to the register for MPs interests the BFTA donated £1,202 which paid for Davies and a second person's accommodation, food and travel to Denmark in April.
The BFTA's chief executive, Mike Moser, said his organisation often had a stand at Tory Party conferences, and during last year's Davies had expressed an interest in its activities.
Mr Moser said: "Naturally, we were delighted to have an opportunity to inform him of the many positive facts behind the UK, European and International fur trades and at the same time, to dispel the many myths and anti-fur propaganda that seem to be prevalent in much of the media.
"In order to present the entire supply chain as comprehensively as possible we arranged for Mr Davies and his assistant to visit Copenhagen, which is home to the world's largest fur auction, Kopenhagen Fur.
"Denmark is also Europe's leading producer of fur and so it also gave him an opportunity to visit a fur farm and speak with a fur farmer."
A Peta spokesman said: "The fact the UK parliament banned fur farming here more than a decade ago because the British public is passionately opposed to the cruel killing of animals for their fur is all that Mr Davies, as an MP, should need to know about this violent industry.
"Although he may have quite liked the idea of a junket to Copenhagen, it's shameful that he accepted a trip paid for by blood money from an industry that exists for the sole 'purpose' of gassing, trapping, electrocuting, killing and skinning sensitive animals for their fur.
"The British Fur Trade Association has a vested interest in ensuring that its 'show farms' are the most sanitised ones in this inhumane industry, but countless investigations have revealed the true hell that animals on fur farms endure before they are mercilessly killed for a product that no-one needs."