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20 May 2022

New laws to ban fur farming in Laois farm on the way

mink

Mink fur farm in Vicarstown Co Laois

A new law to ban the farming of mink and other animal furs in Laois and other counties after the Government committed to shutting down the industry.

Nearly three years after the former Minister for Agriculture announced that the then Government had approved the banning of new firms setting up and the phasing out of the existing businesses, it's emerged that a ban is on the way.

The Green Party made it a promise that the new Government must deliver on when it joined Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in coalition in 2020.

There are three mink farms operating in Ireland.  The Vasa Ltd Fur Farm has operated for several years in Vicarstown, Co. Laois. The others operate in Donegal and Kerry. The Department of Agriculture said in 2019 that these are seen as large farms producing approximately 110,000 pelts per annum. 

The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue is expected to get the goahead from Ministers to ban fur farming in Ireland and to provide a compensation scheme.

The three farmers are set to be compensated for the closing down of their operations. Earnings, redundancy and demolition fees will all be factored into the size of the pay outs.

The prohibition is not expected to begin until early in 2022.

Thousands of animals were culled at the farms in 2020 after a Covid-19 variant linked to mink was discovered in Denmark. The variant was not found on Irish farms.

Animal rights activists have campaigned for the ban. There have been several protests at the farm in Laois.

A 2012 Department of Agriculture report said the industry claims to be responsible for approximately 62 full-time jobs and staff salaries of some €1.3m per annum.

It said CSO statistics put the value of exports in 2010 at €4.992m. It said mink pelts are exported via international auction houses in Helsinki and Copenhagen.

The report said the fur sector creates up to 60,000 full-time jobs in Europe and the value of EU-farmed fur came to
€1.5 billion in 2010.

CRIMECALL WATCH Laois Offaly gardaí top tips on roving country criminals

At this time of year farm yards tend be subjected to night time thefts and Laois and Offaly are no different. RTÉ's Crimecall has helped Laois Offaly Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Graham Kavanagh offers the following advice.

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