Animal Welfare Policies of Irish Political Parties

General Election 2020 Home

Where to find information on your candidates:

  • The Irish Council Against Blood Sports have very comprehensive information on candidates by constituency.
  • Ask Your Candidates: My Lovely Horse Rescue searched for "animal welfare" policies on the websites of political parties running General Election 2020 (see below).
  • - Find out what any TD or Senator has worked on in the Dáil or Seanad, simply search by name or search the site for any words e.g. "animal welfare".

We will continue update this page with any responses from candidates.
Parties are in alphabetical order.  Last updated 2 February 2020.

Further Information by Party/Candidate:


Fianna Fáil

  • No "Animal Welfare Policy" found on website
    • Cllr Deirdre Heney, a candidate in Dublin Bay North has put forward motions in DCC re: animal welfare and supported My Lovely Horse Rescue and Dublin Carriage drivers  (matter is ongoing) on improvements to legislation for regulation and welfare of carriage horses.
  • In the Fianna Fáil Manifesto:

    • Horses are mentioned twice - in reference to funding the horse racing sector.

      "Secure the long-term funding of the horse racing sector to ensure its prestige and credibility as the global leader is fully maintained.

      "Draw up and implement a national plan for the development of the equine industry factoring into account the ramifications of Brexit."

      Animal Welfare Funding: "We will double animal welfare funding by €3m for bodies and charities annually provided by the Department of Agriculture."

    Fine Gael

    • No Animal Welfare policy found on website.
    • The Fine Gael Manifesto states:

      Horse Welfare: "We will oblige all local authorities to act appropriately to deal with horse welfare issues. We will develop additional urban horse welfare programmes, working with local authorities and charities involved in equine welfare to provide stabling facilities and educational programmes."

      Live Export: "We will work with the live export market and farmers to continue to enhance transport conditions for livestock."

      Dairy Calves: "we will invest in calf feeding and housing infrastructure and ensure that the highest of animal welfare standards are maintained for dairy calves."

      Greyhound racing: "Fine Gael recognises the economic and social impact of greyhound racing in rural areas. We will fully implement the Greyhound Racing Act 2019, strengthening integrity in the industry and providing for a new system of traceability. We will invest in greyhound welfare and rehoming as a priority to ensure adherence to the highest standards."

      Poultry: "We will support further investment in the poultry sector, providing for upgrades in poultry facilities and further improvements in the areas of animal health and welfare."

      There is also mention of funding for Horse Racing/Horse Sport Ireland and animal welfare charities and information re: pig welfare (swine flu) etc.

    Green Party

    • No reference to equine crisis in the Green Party Manifesto and Rural Affairs, Agriculture, Animal Welfare, Forestry & Food, however, the following is stated:
      • "The Green party believes that animals, as sentient beings, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and protected from maltreatment and abuse. We believe that animals should be able to live according to their natural instincts and needs wherever possible. We believe that Ireland needs to do more to protect the diversity and habitats of its native fauna."
      • Adopt higher welfare standards for all farmed animals and press for measures under the CAP which will support those implementing higher welfare standards.
      • Support a significant increase in funding for animal welfare organisations.
      • Improve pig welfare, and uphold the EU Pigs Directive, which prohibits mutilations such as tail docking, and we will support the development of a high-welfare outdoor-reared pig sector.
      • Improve the welfare of poultry by supporting a ban on all types of cages for laying hens.
      • Ban the live export of livestock for slaughter to non-EU countries and phase-out the live export of unweaned calves by exploring other market opportunities.
      • Support a Bord Bia funded bonus for ‘zeromovement’ beef bred cattle which are born, raised and slaughtered from the farm of origin.
      • Support the introduction of ‘honest labelling’ for animal products, which would include details such as methods of rearing and production
      • End badger culling by rolling out badger vaccination.
      • Phasing out of public funding to the greyhound racing industry.
      • Stop the hunting of wild animals with hounds and end coursing with live hares.
      • See through the government’s commitment to
        phasing out fur farming of all species.
      • Promote responsible pet ownership through the school curriculum.
      • Improve the welfare of animals in zoos and wildlife parks by upholding the EU Zoos Directive.
      • Ban all non-medical animal experimentation and support the three R’s – reduction, refinement and replacement.
      • Support the introduction of regulations on the species and type of animal that can be bred, kept, sold or supplied.
      • Ensure that tougher sentences are applied to those found guilty of animal cruelty.
      • Support stronger regulation on dog breeding and stronger enforcement of relevant legislation.
    • Website:


    • Joan Collins TD - Dublin South Central. No policy on website.
      • Supported My Lovely Horse Rescue and Dublin Carriage drivers  (matter is ongoing) on improvements to legislation for regulation and welfare of carriage horses by raising the issue in the Dáil along with Maureen O’Sullivan.  See Oireachtas website for details also. 

    Irish Freedom Party

    • No website found.


    • The party manifesto states: "Labour will ring-fence part of the Betting Levy to fund animal welfare inspectors to ensure only the highest practice is permitted in any sports or pursuits involving animals (such as greyhound racing and horseracing) and to reform the situation of unwanted dogs."

    National Party

    • None found on website, however in a response to an email from MLHR to ask if the party had any policies, they replied: 

      "The National Party is strongly committed to animal welfare.
      We favour the highest animal welfare standards and would introduce stringent legislation to include criminal penalties for violations of those standards.
      We oppose methods of barbaric ritual slaughter such as kosher and halal.
      We are opposed to animal testing and vivisection."

    People Before Profit

    Renua Ireland

    • No policy found.  Small mention of welfare here.  In a response to an email from MLHR to ask if they had any policies on animal welfare they state "discussed banning sulky [sulkie] racing on roads and halal slaughter at the last board meeting".

    Sinn Féin

    • None found on website.  
      • However response from Aengus Ó Snodaigh (candidate in Dublin South Central) states:
        “Sinn Féin have a long standing record of opposition to cruel farming, animal harvesting, unnecessary and cruel animal testing, and the infliction of cruelty to animals, especially for the purposes of entertainment, and this position was restated at our 2018 Ard Fheis.  We are also developing more detailed proposals in this area, through consultation with our members and all stakeholders working and volunteering in this area.”

    Social Democrats

    • 2 page document on Animal Welfare - View policy (pdf) and on web.
      (Cllr Tara Deacy (Dublin South Central candidate) has advised "policy is being updated soon".)

      The policy states:
      • "We will maintain our position against fox-hunting and fur-farming.
      • We favour the banning of live exports of animals to countries that have poor animal welfare protections, and the raising and enforcement of standards in relation to long journeys and animal transport vessels.
      • We will improve animal welfare standards as they apply to farming practices in Ireland, including pigs, sheep, cattle and chickens.
      • We are in favour of harsher penalties for animal cruelty.
      • We would ban all experiments on animals that are not related to genuine medical research
      • We would improve resources to boost enforcement of animal welfare laws
      • We would improve resources for TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) services.
      • We would ensure that all zoos report animal welfare incidents, including deaths, on an annual basis.
      • We would seek to pr ogress higher targets for the chipping of cats, dogs, and equine animals.
      • We will push for a full review of our dog-breeding legislation as recent research from NUI Galway has shown that Irish legislation is decades behind other jurisdictions. The current legislation controlling so-called “dangerous breeds” gives people a false perception that other breeds are not prone to aggression. We need a complete overhaul of this legislation so that is based on evidence and places far more
        responsibility on owners of all breeds of dogs."

    Workers Party

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