Wednesday, 25 February 2004

Questions (62)

Finian McGrath

Question:

148 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason fur farms are legal here; and if he has proposals to change the legislation in order to ensure that these animals are treated humanely. [6389/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture and Food)

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 my Department. Licences are issued under this legislation only if the applicant, following an inspection carried out by officials from my Department, is found to be compliant with a number of key conditions.

Licensed fur farms are also inspected by my Department to assess compliance with 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.

I have no plans to ban fur farming in Ireland. My Department will continue to monitor the operation of the licensed fur farms under the relevant legislation.