The Programme for Government 2020 includes a commitment to bring forward legislation that prohibits fur farming in the State.
There are three active farms in the State that breed and rear mink for the purposes of pelting for the fur industry. The statutory prohibition on fur farming will, in particular, impact these three farms who are currently operating a lawful business. For this reason, the draft legislation makes provision for a scheme of compensation that my Department will make available to the three farm businesses affected by the prohibition.
The provisions of the Bill that govern the nature of the compensation scheme, ensure that mink farming operators are to be compensated for losses and costs directly resulting from the prohibition on fur farming in Ireland.
The Bill sets out criteria upon which compensation for income loss, non-income loss and certain costs will be payable. The types of costs that will be covered by any compensation scheme made under the legislation will include redundancy payments to employees, certain professional fees, mink disposal and clean-up costs and the costs involved in the demolition of mink buildings.
The main difference however between the current version before the Dáil and the general scheme version is that the specific details regarding the methodology for calculating compensation payable in respect of income and non-income losses and costs incurred are now to be provided for in Regulations, made by the Minister, rather than being set in the primary legislation itself as was previously the position.
Other new provisions include :
- advance compensation payments
- the appointment of an assessor to ultimately determine the amount of compensation payable.
- an appeal mechanism directly to the High Court.
My Department has continually engaged with the farmers effected by the ban on fur farming and has ensured they have been fully briefed at all stages of the process. As you are aware I have committed to provide a fair and reasonable compensation scheme to the farmers and the scheme being designed meets these requirements.
While the Bill going through the Oireachtas at the moment will define a structure / framework to address the loss categories involved, the finer detail will be addressed in the regulations. My officials will continue to engage with the farmers as the regulations are progressing.