Cabinet set to ban fur-farming from next year

Compensation package expected for farmers of three mink farms in Laois, Donegal and Kerry

Denmark ordered the slaughter of up to 17 million mink in early November over fears of a variant of Covid-19 linked to the animals.  Photograph:  Getty Images

Denmark ordered the slaughter of up to 17 million mink in early November over fears of a variant of Covid-19 linked to the animals. Photograph: Getty Images

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The Cabinet is set to agree to ban fur-farming from next year, with a compensation package for farmers also expected.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will today (Tuesday) bring a memo to Cabinet on the prohibition of fur-farming in Ireland, which will begin early in 2022 to allow the farmers see out the 2021 season.

There are approximately 120,000 mink on three farms in counties Laois, Donegal and Kerry. The Cabinet will be told that the three farmers will be compensated for the closing down of their operations with asset value, earnings, redundancy payments and demolition fees to be considered in the package.

The measures will be provided for in an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which is likely to include a provision that cats, chinchillas, dogs, foxes, mink and weasels can also not be farmed for their fur or skin.

Mr McConalogue will seek to have early scrutiny of the legislative plans, it is understood.

The breeding of mink for their fur came under scrutiny last November when the chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, advised the culling of mink in the country as a matter of urgency over fears of a variant of Covid-19 linked to the animals.

There were outbreaks of Covid-19 on farms in Denmark, Greece and the Netherlands last year. In Denmark authorities ordered a cull of its entire mink population.

It is understood staff at the Irish farms have been tested since then, with no detection of the variant strain linked to mink.

Separate plans

Meanwhile a person’s socio-economic status or gender identity could be considered as grounds for discrimination under separate plans to be discussed at today’s Cabinet meeting.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman will bring a memo proposing a “wide-ranging review” of various pieces of equality legislation.

The review will examine how effective the legislation is in combatting discrimination, and will also examine socio-economic status as a grounds for discrimination and introducing a gender-identity ground.

Mr O’Gorman is to propose a public consultation which will take around six months. Specific proposals on what exactly should change will be brought back to Cabinet next year.