Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to consider introducing more effective penalties for those who maltreat, or abandon their horses. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister confirmed to him in a Parliamentary reply that his Department had given Local authorities €4.5 million to deal with the seizure and control of horses in the three year period from 2014-2017:
“It is absolute staggering to see the industrial scale removal, seizure and killing of horses that Local Authorities have been engaged in from 2008 to 2016.
During that period 24,433 thousand horses were seized with 16, 971 subsequently being euthanised.
“What is deeply worrying, apart from the clear disregard for animal welfare that is occurring on such a massive scale, are the costs that are being generated and which must surely be detracting from the allocation of departmental funds for other vital projects.
“Minister Creed tells me that under The Control of Horses Act 1996 his department has offered millions in financial assistance towards the expenses incurred by the Local Authorities in operation of the Act, but says nothing about the financial contribution that each individual Local Authority has had to make on top of that assistance.
“This is information we need to have if we are to have a clearer sense of the financial burdens these animal welfare issues are causing.
While the vast majority of people in Tipperary provide very high standards of care to their horses, the problem of cruelty and maltreatment remains acute among some groups and that needs to be tackled in a far more robust manner than it has been to date,” concluded Deputy McGrath.