A retired mink farmer has said he was 'not surprised' at calls for around 100,000 mink to be culled on Irish fur farms.
It comes amid concerns over a mutated coronavirus strain.
The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has written to the Department of Agriculture, voicing concern that the mutation could affect the rollout of any COVID-19 vaccine.
It comes after officials in Denmark discovered a mutated form of COVID-19 on hundreds of mink farms.
The discovery led to plans for a cull of the 17 million mink on farms there.
Redmond O'Hanlon is a retired mink farmer and told The Hard Shoulder this is down to a number of factors.
"I wasn't surprised, for the simple reason that there has been a 20-year, ongoing campaign to close down mink farms in this country - for one reason or another.
"We're supposed to be the cruelest of all animal farmers in the whole country.
"There are two points I'd like to make: first of all over-reaction as regards the virus itself.
"There has been absolutely no mutating, mutant virus found in any mink farm, they're isolated in the countryside, they're very well protected, no one is allowed in and out of them and they're controlled absolutely terrific [sic] so they are.
"And the second one of course is that there has been a campaign to close down mink farms because of animal rights people pressure".
"If it were found, well then I suppose the right thing to do would be to put down the mink.
"But certainly not just on the basis that they might, or something like that".
He also questioned the basis of a Government commitment to close the farms, suggesting "You might as well say we close down all chicken farms".
He said there is no danger that the wild mink population could catch something from a mink farm.
"Wild mink in the country are isolated, they're individuals and if there was enough of them they would only mate and spread to one another in the mating season.
"But wild mink in Ireland... are as a result of the animal rights people who let 3,000 mink out of a mink farm in Swords in 1960.
"And that began the wild mink population in Ireland, and these mink are vicious killers - they just kill, kill, kill - and they have been the death of endless numbers of Irish wildlife over the years".