Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Animal Welfare Expenditure
971. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he has taken to address the ill treatment and bad husbandry of horses in the Dublin region (details supplied). [3731/20]
972. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding available in urban areas for horse welfare organisations to help them educate the owners of horses in the way in which to look after them and carry out veterinary inspections in order to address the ill health and malnourishment of many animals in the areas. [3732/20]
973. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding available to local authorities to build and maintain stables for horses being keep in urban areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3733/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 971 to 973, inclusive, together.
My Department dedicates a substantial level of resources and funding to animal welfare. In December 2019, I announced the largest ever allocation of funding from my Department of €2.906m to 106 animal welfare organisations, a number of which undertake work with equines.
Regarding the urban horse issue, my Department continues to support a number of urban horse projects nationwide, bringing education on all aspects of equine welfare to disadvantaged areas. As an example, in the context of breeding, the DSPCA with financial assistance from my Department, continues to facilitate castration clinics and education programs in an effort to address the problem of over-breeding which can add to welfare issues.
Officials from my Department also sit on the Dublin Region Horse Welfare Working Group with local authorities and relevant NGOs.
In 2018 and 2019, my Department also funded an equine welfare course aimed at horse owners, in particular those who have involvement with trotting/harness type animals. Four of these courses were run including one in Garristown, Co Dublin.
Under the Control of Horses Act 1996, local authorities may take a range of actions in relation to equines including prohibiting horses in certain areas, the issuing of licences, the seizure of horses in contravention of the Act. These powers can be used in respect of straying horses which includes horses put on land without the owner’s permission, including public land. The local authorities may also prosecute offenders.
The Deputy may be aware that my Department operates a confidential animal welfare helpline through which members of the public can report incidents of animal cruelty or neglect for investigation. If the Deputy wishes to pass on details of any cases of alleged neglect or cruelty that he is aware of, they will be fully investigated by my Department and appropriate actions, up to and including prosecution, may be taken.
The dedicated e-mail address and Helpline in place for reporting suspected cases of animal welfare are:
Helpline Phone No: Call Save - 0761 064408, phone - 01 607 2379.
Email address - firstname.lastname@example.org.