President signs law banning fur farming

President Michael D Higgins has signed new legislation relating to fur farming and forestry.

The main purpose of the Animal Health and Welfare and Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is to prohibit the farming of animals primarily for their fur or skin.

It will also provide for a compensation scheme for the current farmers affected.

In addition, it introduces some amendments to the Forestry Act 2014.

Donegal Td and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said that while fur farming was once societally acceptable, attitudes have changed on the matter.

He also said he was fully aware that the Bill will impact in a major way on the three farm businesses who are currently operating lawful businesses to the highest of standards.

However, he said he was working with the farmers to ensure that both them and their staff are treated with respect through this process.

Commenting on the Forestry aspects of the bill, the Minister said the inclusion of small-scale tree planting measures in support schemes is constrained by the 0.1ha size limit imposed by the forest definition in the Forestry Act 2014.

Introducing an exemption for afforestation in certain circumstances facilitates the exclusion of clearly defined activities from requiring an afforestation licence. This exemption is an enabling proposal that allows woodlands to be created through initiatives, other than an afforestation scheme, thereby contributing to Ireland’s targets in relation to a wide range of environmental priorities, particularly climate change, biodiversity and water quality.