Mink farms to get €4m to €8m compensation from State

Minister for Agriculture has brought memo to Cabinet to prohibit fur farming

In November 2020  the chief medical officer   advised the culling of mink in the country over fears of a variant of Covid-19 linked to the animals. Photograph: iStock

In November 2020 the chief medical officer advised the culling of mink in the country over fears of a variant of Covid-19 linked to the animals. Photograph: iStock

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The three mink farms which operate in the State will collectively receive a compensation package worth between €4 million and €8 million in 2022 for shutting down their operations when fur farming is banned in Ireland.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue on Tuesday brought a memo to the Cabinet on the prohibition of fur farming in Ireland.

The Minister got approval for the Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment) Bill 2021 which seeks to implement a prohibition on the fur farming in Ireland as well as to provide for a scheme of compensation for the small number of fur farms currently operating.

The commitment to prohibit the breeding of mink solely for their fur is contained within the Programme for Government but came under greater scrutiny in November 2020 when the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan advised the culling of mink in the country 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 in 2020. It is understood staff at the Irish farms have been tested since then with no detection of the variant strain linked to mink.

There are some 120,000 mink on three farms in counties Laois, Donegal and Kerry.

The three farmers will be compensated for shutting down their operations.

The prohibition on fur farming provisions will be provided for in the amendment and will include a provision that cats, chinchillas, dogs, foxes, mink and weasels (including stoats) shall not be farmed for their fur or skin.

The prohibition is not expected to begin until early in 2022 allowing the farmers to see out the 2021 season.