Dublin Mid-West TD, Gino Kenny, is facilitating a Dáil Briefing on 16 November at Leinster House for My Lovely Horse Rescue (MLHR). The charity, which is focused on rescuing and rehabilitating mistreated equines, is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the proliferating problem of mass unregulated breeding of horses and consequent welfare issues. Since its establishment in 2011, the charity has been overwhelmed with reports and requests to rescue abandoned and severely neglected horses.
In 2008, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food & The Marine (DAFM), the number of horses seized under the Control of Horses Act was 1,069. By 2015, this has risen to 2,683 horses (at a cost of €952,859.87). 2,191 of those were shot and disposed of. Figures up until May 2016 show the numbers seized so far to be 1,214 equines (at a cost of €558,932.15).
The problem has not only caused huge suffering to horses across the country, it has drained significant financial resources from the State and is part of a wider problem of antisocial behaviour that urgently needs to be addressed.
The system that is currently in place relies heavily on seizing equines and destroying them under the Control of Horses Act. Relatively few owners are ever prosecuted as it is difficult to trace ownership despite microchipping and passport legislation. These horses, ponies and donkeys are often simply replaced due to the widespread availability of low cost equines. A strategic, solution-focused approach is required to tackle the causes and inherited culture that leads to this.
A MLHR spokesperson said: “No matter how many horses we save, the number of cases being reported to us is on the rise. It’s time to start tackling the root causes of this problem. We’re calling on the government to provide resources for the enforcement of existing legislation and for education. Resources are needed to tackle the issue of fly-grazing and to sanction owners who abandon, neglect and abuse equines. In the years 2013 to 2015, over 12,000 equines (horses, ponies and donkeys) have been seized and over 80% of them have been shot and disposed of.”
“In our experience, when a space of land is cleared of all unwanted horses, it creates a vacuum to be filled. Soon enough that open space becomes populated with horses again. This in turn encourages more breeding and perpetuation of the problem. Creating a giant vacuum of this kind will only encourage unregulated and irresponsible breeding and even more unwanted horses requiring the care of a volunteer charity such as ours, or indeed further culling. Culls are the primary solution of government agencies to deal with abandoned, neglected, unlicensed and abused horses in Ireland.”
No single organisation can tackle the key causes of Ireland’s equine welfare crisis alone. MLHR is prepared to work with the public, local Councils, DAFM and Gardaí to assist with promoting awareness and prosecution to ultimately eradicate this problem.
MLHR is calling on the public to ask their local representatives to get involved and attend the meeting on the 16th November at Leinster House. The charity said “We believe that a key part of overcoming this problem relies on a greater awareness among the public and the Gardaí of the 2013 Animal Health and Welfare Act and a willingness to utilise this piece of legislation.”
Dáil Briefing Information:
Date & Time of Briefing: 2pm, 16th November 2016.
Location: Leinster House.
Duration: 1.25 hours - photo opportunity afterwards.
MLHR Contact Details:
My Lovely Horse Rescue
087 936 1570
Contact Details For TDs & Senators