Fur Farming Bill receives governmental go-ahead for drafting

Charlie McConalogue

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has announced Government agreement to the drafting of the Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment) Bill 2021.

This Bill, for which Mr McConalogue is seeking early pre-legislative scrutiny, provides for:

  • the legislative framework to implement a prohibition on the keeping of animals primarily for their fur or skin,
  • for a scheme of compensation for the fur farming businesses currently operating,
  • introduces other miscellaneous amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

The Programme for Government 2020 includes a commitment to bring forward legislation that prohibits fur farming in the State. This draft Bill is the first step in fulfilling that strategy.

The statutory prohibition on fur farming will impact directly on three farming businesses that are currently conducting a lawful business. For this reason, the draft legislation includes a scheme of compensation for the farm businesses affected by the prohibition. The proposed compensation scheme is designed to be fair and reasonable to the fur farming operators concerned whilst also being fair to the taxpayer.

The draft legislation includes some technical amendments to the 2013 Act and a repeal of the Milk (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1979 which is surplus to requirements and not being replaced.

Referring to the Bill, Mr McConalogue said: “The prohibition on fur farming in the State is in line with similar bans being implemented, or about to be implemented, in many jurisdictions across Europe and further afield.

“I realise that this is a very difficult time for the farmers and farms concerned. The farmers have always upheld the required animal welfare standards. However, the compensation package being provided is designed to mitigate losses resulting from the ban. I will continue to work with the farmers to ensure any compensation made available, is fair and reasonable.”

He added: “I welcome Government agreement to the drafting of this Bill and hope its progress through the legislative process proceeds without delay”.

Minister-of-State Pippa Hackett said: “This is an important and progressive piece of legislation which, I believe, is supported by the vast majority of the general public. It is a key component of the Programme for Government and something I have long supported as indeed have many animal welfare groups as well as the representative body for veterinary surgeons in Ireland, Veterinary Ireland.”

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