Fur farming to be phased out in ‘orderly wind-down of sector’

The cabinet has agreed to the phased dis-establishment of fur farming in Ireland today, Tuesday, June 25.

Commenting on the Government decision, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed said:

“There has been considerable international and societal debate about fur farming.

While the department has strengthened its controls over the sector in recent years, it is clear that there has been a shift in societal expectations in relation to the sector and recent veterinary evidence suggests that the farming of mink is counter to good animal welfare.

“Taking these considerations into account, it is considered timely to commence the phasing out of the industry in Ireland,” the minister said.

The Government will now proceed to bring forward a bill which will be drafted in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office. The Government bill will provide for a phased basis for the ban for existing operators.

Minister Creed continued: “The Government bill will make it illegal for any new fur farms to be established.

“Phase out arrangements will be put in place for the small number of current operators to allow for an orderly wind-down of the sector and to allow time for employees to find alternative opportunities.”

There are currently three mink fur farms operating in counties Donegal, Laois and Kerry; these are seen as large farms producing approximately 110,000 pelts per annum.

In 2011, a review group was established to examine all aspects of fur farming in Ireland. It examined the industry from all relevant aspects and did not recommend banning the industry.

On foot of the report, that was published in 2012, the department introduced more rigorous controls on fur farms in the areas of animal welfare, accommodation, security and nutrient management.

While a number of European countries have banned fur farming, the approach has generally been to allow a phase-out period over a number of years.