The Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, has received Cabinet approval to introduce legislation that will lead to the banning of fur farming.

"Society has changed and attitudes to keeping animals in captive specifically for their fur... attitudes have really changed significantly towards that", he told journalists outside Government Buildings this afternoon.

The measure, to prohibit the breeding of mink specifically for their fur, is contained in the programme for Government.

There are 120,000 mink left in the country, spread across three mink farms in counties Laois, Donegal and Kerry.

Charlie McConalogue described the bill, known as the Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment) Bill 2021, as comprehensive and measured.

It contains provisions for a compensation package for the farmers, which will take into account earnings, redundancy payments and demolition fees.

It's estimated that the industry is worth around one to two million euro to the economy each year, employing roughly 12 fulltime staff. This increases to 30 during the busy season.

Minister McConalogue said this type of farming was once "very much promoted" by Government, from its origins in the 1960s. However, he explained that the activity is no longer supported.

He told reporters that the three farms in question have always maintained and upheld the highest animal welfare standards and Government has been engaging with them for the past year.

Minister of State Pippa Hackett said it was a sensitive issue, but she welcomed the moved.

She explained that in the past, well-meaning people have sometimes released mink from captivity into the wild, which "has caused absolutely catastrophic issues for wildlife and continues to do so".