"The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have released their new Animal Welfare Strategy. We are very disappointed at the continued lack of understanding as to the true situation of animal welfare in this country especially in the area of equine welfare. Until the government admits that our animal welfare record is nothing to stand over and that it needs major reforming then the necessary changes will not take place. Please take time to read our response to this strategy and share the link. Animal welfare matters"
MLHR Response to the Department of Agriculture's new Animal Welfare Strategy
Any opportunity to discuss and highlight the state of animal welfare in this country and to work towards a greater understanding of the animals we share this island with, their needs and our responsibilities towards them, is a positive thing and we welcome all initiatives which are aimed at improving present standards.
It is reassuring to read of the Minister’s ‘clear commitment to animal welfare’ and his belief that ‘together we can ensure that as a society, we afford our companion, farmed and wild animals, the respect, care and high welfare standards they deserve.’
However, we do believe that the full extent of the present animal welfare situation is not truly understood and appreciated by the government and authorities. We are concerned that without a clear understanding of the failings of our present system we cannot make the changes necessary to move forward towards achieving the vision of this strategy which is for Ireland to become ‘increasingly recognised as a country that actively promotes and safeguards the welfare of all animals,’ Knowledge and evidence based information are stated as two of the five key strategic principles of this strategy and it is essential that the many groups who have been working on the ground in the area of animal welfare are consulted throughout this process. No matter how small the groups may be they have invaluable insight and understanding of the present situation.
This is Dublin. Most of these videos were taken over 3 days!
Laws are being continually broken. Horses are suffering. This is wrong.
It is time for action and laws to be enforced.
MLHR are calling on the following authorities to work together:
- Department of Agriculture
- An Garda Síochána
A multi-agency response is needed. The Government needs to ensure this happens. They have promised they would address equine welfare in the Programme for Government.
We need you to take action and write to the following:
Who is there for the Trudy’s of this world?
The state that Trudy was found in did not happen overnight. There had been months of abuse, the signs of which showed clearly on her body.
Months of being starved and under-fed, months of beatings and cuttings, many old but some fresh and still oozing. Months of being ridden too hard, her legs in bits from it. And then her beautiful eyes, her delicate mouth, burnt. Her two front legs, burnt.
How can someone do this to a defenceless creature and get away with it?
Because they have gotten away with this. Do not be under any illusion that Trudy will find justice in this country.
Trudy came from Cork city which has NO Veterinary Department or designated Veterinary officer. Trudy came from Cork city whose Horse pound contract was awarded earlier this year to a contractor based not in Cork, not in Munster but in Longford! So what exactly do Cork council expect the Gardaí to do with a horse when they seize it, take the horse to the station, wait around for hours while someone comes from over 250 km away to assist, take the poor creature home?
In the last six months, horse problems have escalated in Cork city as a direct result of there being no adequate response from the official paid horse contractor, no proper resources available to back up the Gardaí, no understanding from the Council as to the true scale of the problem out there.
What do we need?
- We need the public to report every single time they see a Trudy out there, every single time.
- We need the authorities to respond to every report, every single time.
- We need each city and county council in this country to have a vet department and a veterinary officer. When one retires or passes away we need them replaced. This is not happening in some areas to cut costs. Well the true cost is Trudy. There are Trudy’s out there right now suffering the same fate, living the same life.
What the hell are we all going to do about it?
Here is Trudy’s story in her own words…
Dear Cork City Council,
My name is Trudy. I am two years old.
For most of my life I have known only suffering.
Days when I didn’t have enough to eat.
Days when I was left outside in the cold, in the rain, in the scorching heat.
I don’t know where my mother is. I can’t really remember her, just a vague sense that she was once with me.
I was taken from her when she got pregnant again and put into a small field with others that I didn’t know. Later, when I was older, I was left mostly on my own tied to a gate in the yard or on a small patch of grass behind the houses.
I got my first pair of shoes when I was 6 months old. They didn’t fit so well and now they’re really tight cos they haven’t been changed much since. My legs are really sore all the time
but no-one notices and I don’t complain cos I don’t know how.
I’m not sure who I belong to, there’s always different people riding me and moving me about.
None of them really look at me or talk to me.
I wish they would cos sometimes I’m really lonely.
The worst is when they come and tie me to their sulkies. I have to run so fast and they beat me all the time even when I’m really trying to go as fast as I can for them.
I have lots of cuts all over me. I don’t remember how I got them all. Some of them are old and have scabbed over, others are very raw and start bleeding
from time to time.
I can’t remember too much about my last days. I think I’ve shut out a lot of the pain that I went through. I’d been hungry for so long that I hadn’t even noticed that I was nearly skin and bone.
My legs were all raw, I think someone may have burnt them. I just remember a low cruel voice and laughing and then a shocking pain all down my two front legs.
Now I’m lying down in the cold mud. I don’t think I can get up anymore. My eyes are sore and weeping and I can hardly open them. I’m not sure how long I’ve been like this. I just know I’m really tired.
A little while ago I saw a woman’s face looking down at me and heard a dog barking somewhere nearby. Then she was gone.
Some time later others arrived, men’s voices and then a voice and a face I thought I knew.
I pulled opened my eyes and I saw your kind face kneeling over me and then I felt your oh so gentle touch upon my neck. I tried to get up for you but I could only drag up my neck and reach for your face. I wanted to tell you everything but I think you already knew.
I lay back down knowing that I was safe now, that the pain would go away and that all I’d be left with would be the love I had seen in your eyes.
Now I’m in that better place so there’s no need to cry for me.
I’m no longer hungry. I’m never cold and I’m never sore.
There’s just a warm sunshine on my face all day and a lightness in my heart.
My name is Trudy.
Please don’t forget me, I’ll always remember you.
Many things are changing on our farm, and we've been thinking about how on earth we got here... and why we do it all in the first place.We founded My Lovely Horse Rescue in 2011, but we didn't move into our current farm home until 2014.
After three years we finally had a place where all our animals could be together, a place to base ourselves and to grow from. No more paying for livery or relying on the generosity of friends and volunteers for stables for our horses.
Our My Lovely Horse Rescue centre is an old fashioned rented farm. It’s far from glamorous, and a lot of hard work and long hours went into making it suitable for us.
When we weren’t hauling buckets of water from the river for all of our animals’ needs (it would be a year before we got our present system that pumps water from the river through underground pipes to our water tank in the yard), we were building stables out of the old cowsheds amidst the constant daily feeding and caring for the animals. Nothing came easy or cheap, but then no-one said that rescuing horses would be either. 2018 was a hard year for us and our animals, enduring freezing winter snow and a scorching summer heatwave.
The farm badly needed an overhaul and we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. Our old farmyard was compacted earth and every time it rained it turned to deep muck, where everything from wheelbarrows to wellingtons got stuck. It couldn’t be cleaned properly and the horses were getting mud rash from standing in it.
We needed proper dry standing areas for our wonderful equines and a surface that was easy to clean.
So, the very expensive decision was made to concrete it over. We couldn’t really afford this but it was necessary for the future of our horses and our rescue. Now, €40,000 later, we have four dry standing areas and a quarantine that can be cleaned daily without anyone losing a boot or a wheelbarrow and more importantly where the horses can move with ease.
Then there was the stable issue: we simply didn’t have enough.
So, for €16,000 we bought four dome-like shelters made of waterproof canvas that protect our horses from the harsh sun and the beating rain.
The difference that these two changes have made is indescribable and just a couple of weeks ago Noah was born in our smallest shelter, on a bed of hay, our first foal to do so.
We love our rescue farm and we’re so proud of it. It is the only true home that our animals have ever known. Our animals are the beating heart of My Lovely Horse Rescue farm, and they remind us daily why we do what we do.
And we thank you, dear supporter, for your part in allowing all this to happen. Without you, we wouldn't' be able to give our rescued animals a life worth living.
This week the folks from The Critter Shed podcast came to visit us at the farm. Podcast hosts Collie Ennis and Colette Kinsella came to meet our pigs, and we had a fun afternoon chatting about about these wonderful creatures.
Pigs are some of the most misunderstood, maligned and mistreated animals on the planet, and they're also one of the world's most intelligent species – just behind dolphins and chimpanzees.Pigs are also emotionally complex beings, and researchers tell us they can learn to play video games, can recognise themselves in a mirror and they have the ability to solve puzzles
Of course, this is old news to us! Every day on the farm we watch our motley crew of rescue pigs solving puzzles all over the place.
One of Tina's best moves, for instance, is opening the childproof freezer locks with her nose!
There is so much to learn about pigs. They have sophisticated emotional and social lives, they're playful and have excellent long-term memories, and they can keep track of individuals in their group, just like we do.
Perhaps it's no surprise that Collie and Colette fell in love with our gorgeous gang of pigs. Click 'play' above to find out why!