HC Deb 22 February 1990 vol 167 cc902-3W
Mr. Ron Davies

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many mink farms are currently in operation in each county and region in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; and what were the equivalent figures 12 months ago.

Mr. Maclean

Fifty mink farms (premises) are currently in operation in the United Kingdom, compared with 61 a year ago, as follows:

As at 31 March 1989 As at 20 February 1990
Northern 16 13
Humberside 2 2
Northumberland 1 1
North Yorkshire 1 1
South Yorkshire 1 1
West Yorkshire 11 8
Midlands and West 18 15
Cheshire 2 1
Lancashire 14 12
Staffordshire 1 1
Greater Manchester 1 1
Eastern 7 7
Herefordshire 1 1
Lincolnshire 1 1
Norfolk 1 1
Suffolk 4 4
South Eastern 5 4
Buckinghamshire 1 1
Hampshire 2 2
Isle of Wight 1 1
West Sussex 1
South Western 6 4
Cornwall 2 2
Dorset 1 1
Gloucestershire 1
Wiltshire 2 1
Total England 52 43
Scotland 8 6
Northern Ireland 1 1
Total United Kingdom 61 50

Mr. Ron Davies

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will instruct his officials to reinspect all mink farms to ensure that after the recent storms they continue to comply with current regulations;

(2) if he will revoke the licence of the mink farm in Stansted, Essex, following the recent large-scale escape of mink into surrounding countryside and buildings;

(3) what information he has on the escape of farmed mink following damage to their cages in the recent storms;

(4) whether he has revoked the licences of any mink farms following damage during the recent storms;

(5) whether he intends to review the conditions of the Mink Keeping Order.

Mr. Maclean

On 25 January very severe winds damaged a mink farm at Stansted and several animals escaped when their pens broke open after being blown through the perimeter fence. The owner fulfilled his statutory duty by notifying MAFF immediately, and as soon as the storm subsided the damage was repaired. Most of the escaped mink have been recaptured or accounted for, but eight are still missing. The licence of the farm has not been revoked. The circumstances of the escapes were wholly exceptional and the pens and fence have been made secure. This was the only notification of escaped mink following the storm.

All farms are visited at least annually by MAFF inspectors to check that the conditions of their licences are being respected. The Mink Keeping Order expires at the end of 1992 and its renewal will be reviewed well before then.