Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Ceisteanna (182)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

182. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is satisfied with the standards of fur farms here in view of inspectors' reports (details supplied); his views on abolishing fur farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18183/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Deputy is referring to information released on foot of a Freedom of Information request processed in 2017.  In that request an individual sought all inspection reports for fur farms in 2016. 

The inspections reports did not highlight any issues of concern in relation to the standards prevailing on the Fur Farms in question.

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.