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he American mink's fur has been highly prized for use in clothing, with hunting giving way to farming. Their treatment on fur farms has been a focus of animal rights and animal welfare activism. American mink have established populations in Europe (including Great Britain) and South America, after being released from mink farms by animal rights activists, or otherwise escaping from captivity. In the UK, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to release mink into the wild. In some countries, any live mink caught in traps must be humanely killed. Ireland There are three mink farms in Ireland, in Donegal, Kerry, and Laois. Mink farming was introduced into the country by two veterinarians. Three thousand mink were released by campaigners into the wild from a farm in the 1960s. It is estimated that there are 33,500 wild mink in Ireland. The Irish Department of Agriculture stated in November 2020 saying that the Department o f Health had advised, following the detection of coronavirus among animals on a Danish mink farm, that the roughly 120,000 farmed Irish mink should be culled. Mink farming was already due to be discontinued under the 2020 Programme for Government but the coronavirus risk had expedited the closure of the indu