Department to ‘consider next steps’ after recommendation made to cull mink

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has said it is engaging with Irish mink farmers to “consider the next steps” following the recommendation to cull all farmed mink in Ireland.

In a statement today (Thursday, November 19), a spokesperson for the department said:

“The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been working closely with the public health authorities as well as with the operators of mink farms in Ireland to address any potential risks arising as a result of Covid-19.

“Mink farmers continue to operate in full compliance with all legislative and animal welfare requirements and have co-operated fully with these efforts. Testing of the mink herd in Ireland detected no positive results to Covid-19 to date.

The Department of Health has indicated that the continued farming of mink represents an ongoing risk of additional mink-adapted SARS-CoV-2 variants emerging and, therefore, it has recommended that farmed mink in Ireland should be culled to minimise or eliminate this risk.

“The Department of Agriculture continues to engage with the mink farmers to consider the next steps,” the department spokesperson said.

Currently, there are three large mink farms operating in Laois, Donegal and Kerry, which produce approximately 110,000 pelts per annum.