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120,000 mink face cull due to Covid fears

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Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue

Ireland's fur farmers face being shut down due to concerns around a mutant strain of Covid-19.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan wrote to Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue in recent days recommending the country's farmed mink be culled.

According to the Department of Health, the continued farming represents an ongoing risk of additional, mink-adapted Covid variants emerging.

The Department of Agriculture said it is engaging with the country's three remaining fur farms.

The remaining mink farms in Ireland, home to around 120,000 mink, are located in Donegal, Laois and Kerry.

Devastated

It's understood the three farms will be allowed to pelt, or remove the fur from their mink, but that no further breeding can take place.

The move has left the three farms "devastated and without a livelihood", a representative of Fur Europe said.

The farms say all workers and animals tested negative for Covid-19 last week.

"This decision will close down three safe farms on no scientific basis.

"There has been no open and transparent debate," said Mette Lykke Nielsen, CEO of Fur Europe in a statement.


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