Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question No. 153
To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food the representations his Department is receiving in regard to fur farming here; his views on the arguments regarding the cruelty of the practice; and if he will ban it.
Eamon Ryan (Nominated by: Trevor Sargent)
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 5th November, 2003.
Ref No: 25618/03. Lottery: 44. Proof: 49.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Joe Walsh):
Our Department has received a total of 35 representations from June 2002, to date relating to fur farming in Ireland. In addition, a number of postcards were received from an organised source. Fur farming is a legitimate farming activity in this country. Under the Musk Rats Act 1933 (Application to Mink) Order 1965, the keeping of mink is prohibited except under licence from our Department. Licences are issued under this legislation only if the applicant, following an inspection carried out by officials from our Department, is found to be compliant with a number of key conditions.
Licensed fur farms are also inspected by our Department to assess compliance with the Council of Europe recommendations concerning fur animals and Council Directive 98/58/EC concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes. These inspections have found that the licensed fur farms have been operating in compliance with current legislation. Inspections have also found that the slaughter methods employed by the licensed fur farms are permitted under the Sixth Schedule of the European Communities (Protection of Animals at Time of Slaughter) Regulations 1995. We have no plans to ban fur farming in Ireland. Our Department will continue to keep in close contact with the fur industry and to monitor the operation of the licensed fur farms.