Respect for Animals has spoken to the Republic of Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) about the progress of the proposed Bill to ban fur farming in Ireland.
The Cabinet agreed in July last year to produce legislation to finally end fur farming in the country. This came after a strong campaign in which Respect for Animals was closely involved, along with animal protection groups NARA and ISPCA. However, the legislation has been delayed, not least because of issues faced by the Irish government (and DAFM in particular) due to the challenges of Brexit, a snap general election- which transformed the political landscape- and, of course, the current coronavirus pandemic. It seems that these have pushed the Bill to ban fur farming down the agenda.
Therefore we are pleased that that the Irish government has confirmed that the ban will still go ahead as planned.
In a statement, a spokesperson told us:
DAFM is in 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. Along with animal welfare considerations, social and economic aspects in relation to the industry need to be taken into account, provide for an orderly wind down of the sector and allow time for employees to find alternative opportunities. The necessary work to prepare the appropriate legislation is ongoing within the Department. It is not envisaged that the Covid-19 pandemic will have any effect on this process.
Respect for Animals has also asked DAFM about mink farming amid the current crisis, given that the European Commission is likely to approve bailouts of fur factory farming and the fact that mink have been found to have contracted coronavirus on multiple fur farms in Holland. The intense factory conditions on all fur farms makes them potential areas of concern for future pandemics. It is now suggested that transmission of the virus from mink to humans has occurred.
DAFM provided us with the following statment:
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has composed a Frequently Asked Questions document for animal owners in line with current public health advice which is available to view at https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/customerservice/coronaviruscovid-19/faqsregardingcovid-19foranimalowners/. In addition, DAFM has written to all the mink farmers in Ireland to raise awareness and advise them that precautions should be taken to prevent mink from exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
DAFM does not provide funding to mink or fur farms. In the case of private businesses, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has provided a number of supports available to all businesses which are demonstrably negatively impacted by COVID-19.