Written answers

Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Department of Agriculture and Food

Proposed Legislation

9:00 pm

Photo of Pat CareyPat Carey (Dublin North West, Fianna Fail)
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Question 399: To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food her plans to introduce legislation to replace the Protection of Animals Act 1911, as amended in 1965, in respect of the protection of animals, but cats in particular, as the current legislation is regarded by animal welfare groups as being outdated, ineffective, unenforceable and unacceptable to them in the 21st century welfare environment, as outlined in correspondence (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13388/06]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Minister, Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs; Minister, Department of Agriculture and Food; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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My Department has statutory responsibility for the welfare and protection of farmed animals. The legislation governing this is the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes Act 1984, and the European Community (Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes) Regulations 2000. In addition, there is specific legislation in relation to pigs, calves and laying hens.

The Protection of Animals Acts 1911 and 1965 are the principal statutes governing cruelty to animals in this country. Responsibility for pursuing complaints under that legislation rests with the Garda Síochána, which on receipt of such a complaint has the statutory basis on which to investigate and initiate a prosecution against any person alleged to have committed an act of cruelty against an animal. Officers of my Department are regularly involved in assisting the Garda in such cases where farmed animals are involved and in that regard I am satisfied that the legislation is adequate.

I do not have responsibility for the protection and welfare of non-farm animals such as cats which do not come under the definition of farmed animals.

Although it does not have statutory responsibility in this area, my Department makes ex gratia payments annually to organisations involved in the direct delivery of animal care and welfare services to assist in their ongoing work. In December last, some €1.2 million was paid to 86 organisations to assist them during 2006. A provision of €1.1 million for this purpose is included in my Department's Estimates for 2006 towards their costs in 2007.

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