The Republic of Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer has advised the government to cull the mink on Ireland’s three mink farms, as a precautionary measure. The government intends to follow this advice.
Further, it is expected that the mink farmers will not be allowed to replace the animals, so it appears that fur farming is about to end.
Official confirmation has not yet been issued but Respect for Animals understand that this will happen and fur factory farming in Ireland will finally cease. There is already a commitment in the Programme for Government to phase out mink farming in Ireland.
According to the World Health Organisation, on 5 November, health authorities in Denmark reported cases of Covid-19 that were caused by a mink-associated strain of the novel coronavirus.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control confirmed, on 12 November, that the mink Covid mutation “could also have an impact on the effectiveness of developed vaccines”.
In a letter to the Department of Agriculture, Dr Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer, said the presence of farmed minks presents “an ongoing risk to public health” if the Covid variant found in Denmark was to become “the dominant strain of the virus”.
He said all mink should be culled “as a matter of urgency”.
On Tuesday, prior to the news of the cull, Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue confirmed that they will “in due course commence the process of preparing a Bill to provide for the phased introduction of a ban on fur farming which will include a prohibition on mink farming. The Bill will make it illegal for any new fur farms to be established and will put in place phase out arrangements for the small number of current operators.”
Respect for Animals has been a leader of the #FurFreeIreland campaign for a number of years. We are now working to get this development converted into a fur farming ban with the utmost urgency.
Respect for Animals Campaigns Director Mark Glover said:
“The news that thousands of mink will be killed is shocking and sad. However, the fact that fur factory farming- a cruel, unjustifiable industry- will cease in Ireland has to be welcomed.
We have campaigned for a Fur Free Ireland for many years and we are finally on the brink of a fur farming ban. Thank you to our friends at NARA and all campaigners and supporters who have helped make this possible.
It is now clear that fur farming is a disaster for animal welfare and a risk to human health.
It is a shame that it has taken a devastating pandemic to bring the cruel and unnecessary fur trade to its knees, but we now must ensure that this barbaric industry is stopped once and for all.”
More details will follow as this story develops.