Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Animal Welfare

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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904. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he is taking to ensure the enforcement of horse welfare regulations, in particular for horses in urban areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6634/20]

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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Legislation relating to the welfare of horses, like that pertaining to the welfare of all species, is grounded in the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. The legislation is applied by authorised officers based in my Department’s network of regional veterinary offices, officers of the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as well as an Garda Siochana.  On occasions, officers of Customs and Excise may also be called upon.  The Chief Executive of a local authority may also appoint persons to act as authorised officers to enforce the provisions of this Act

There is a clear legislative distinction between matters relating to animal welfare and matters relating to control of horses. Under the Control of Horses Act 1996, a local authority may make bye-laws to control activities involving horses in its functional area and may prohibit the keeping of horses in specified areas. 

My Department has also taken a proactive approach in tackling challenges that arise in the case of horses by developing facilities for urban and traveller horse populations and in educating young people among these communities in the care and welfare of horses. This work is done in close collaboration with the local authorities involved.

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