December 17, 2020
Horses treated appallingly due to failure to enforce equine laws – Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan has said that it is outrageous that there have been no prosecutions since 2013 for the failure of owners to chip their horses.

The information was relayed to him in response to a question he asked of the Department of Agriculture.

Speaking today, Teachta Quinlivan said:

“This is an unbelievable statement to come from the Department of Agriculture. The people of Limerick are all too familiar with the issue of wandering horses.

“In recent weeks, such horses have caused damage to a city graveyard. We have also seen three badly malnourished foals and horses pass away on the streets of our city. Thee animals were treated appallingly. I would be incredibly surprised if any of these poor creatures were chipped.

“Over 9,000 horses have been seized across the state since 2015. Of these, at least 1,120 stray or wondering horses have been seized in Limerick. In fact, Limerick has had the highest number of horses seized in three of the last five years.

“The numbers seized so far this year stands at 101 animals in Limerick alone. Most of these animals end up being euthanised. 

“This is a waste of garda time, council money and resources. The Department of Agriculture has contributed funding of €11.9m to local authorities in respect of the control of horses.

“There is very little point in having legislation if it is not used. We need to start seeing the equine identification legislation being enforced. Those who treat their horses well should have no fear from this.

“However, enforcement could deter others from cruelly discarding horses especially in urban areas. If an animal can be purchased for as little as €20 without need for registration, is it really a surprise that some thugs treat their animals so appallingly and discard them rather than pay vet fees?

“Too many of these animals are being abused. Animal welfare activists do their best sometimes in the most challenging of circumstances.

“When these activists enquire about damaged animals they can, and have been, met with, threats of violence. The enforcement of equine identification laws would put an onus on malevolent owners to treat their animals with care. If they were to fail to do so, they would be identified and prosecuted.

“I will be following up with the Department, its regional office, the Gardaí and the local authority in relation to this. It is high time now that we see a step-change in the approach to this issue. 

“We must see the law enforced. We must end the vista of wandering, malnourished horses that is evident across our city.”

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