The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has signed a legislative order to officially close Ireland’s three fur farms.
The Animal Health and Welfare and Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 passed its final stage in the Seanad on March 29, and was then signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins on April 4.
However, in order for the legislation to be enacted it required a commencement order to be prepared by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and subsequently signed by Minister McConalogue.
In 2018, the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) recommended an immediate ban on fur farming citing animal welfare concerns.
As part of the Programme for Government, the coalition committed to proceeding with the ban.
There were three active farms in Ireland breeding and rearing mink for the purpose of pelting for the fur industry, located in counties Kerry, Donegal and Laois.
In total, the maximum number of mink across the three Irish farms was 110,000.
According to the DAFM, between 10-12 workers were employed on the three farms, this number could fluctuate depending on the time of year.
However, in their evidence to the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the fur farmers stated that “we have 13 jobs in this sector, but in the sector in total, you are probably talking about between 30 and 40 jobs”.
Along with banning fur farming, the legislation also provides compensation for the farms affected by the ban.
In a statement to Agriland, a DAFM spokesperson said:
“There are no longer farms breeding/rearing/keeping animals for their fur in Ireland.
“The legal prohibition makes provision for compensating directly affected farmers.
“Claims for compensation will be accepted, evaluated and responded to over a period of time.”
Globally, approximately one hundred million animals are bred and killed on fur farms for their skin and fur each year.
Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000 and in Scotland and Northern Ireland since 2002.
Bans are also in place in Austria, Croatia and Slovenia.
The Netherlands had been due to phase out mink fur-farming by 2024 ,but due to Covid-19 outbreaks on Dutch mink fur farms, the government wound the industry down early.