Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
467. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to cease fur farming practices here further to the European Commission report stating that fur farming impairs mink welfare. [6838/18]
My Department is not aware of the report to which the Deputy refers. Policy in this area is guided by the review which my Department conducted in 2011. The Terms of Reference of the Review Group were:
(i) To review fur farming in Ireland taking into account existing legislative provisions for the licensing of mink farming;
(ii) To comment on the economic benefits of the sector;
(iii) To consider the effectiveness of existing welfare controls, and
(iv) To make appropriate recommendations
The Review Group invited submissions from the public and interested parties and considered over four hundred submissions which were received.
The Group concluded that it did not find the arguments in favour of banning the farming of fur animals in Ireland compelling and recommended that instead, fur farming be allowed continue under licence and subject to official control.
On foot of the Review Group’s deliberations, my Department introduced more rigorous controls on licence holders in the areas of animal welfare, animal accommodation, security and nutrient management. Licensees are subject to regular inspections, including unannounced inspections by Department officials.
Also my Department has statutory responsibility for the welfare and protection of farmed animals under the European Communities (Welfare of Farmed Animals) Regulations, 2010 (Statutory Instrument No 311/2010) and the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. Irish fur farmers are, in this regard, subject to the same animal welfare legislation as other livestock farmers.
In the circumstances, I have no plans to amend the current regulatory provisions around fur farming.