80% of seized horses are euthanised

More than eight out of every 10 horses seized by local authorities nationwide are being euthanised.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine show that €635,321 has been given to local authorities nationwide this year to cover the cost of seizing more than 1,100 abandoned and unwanted horses and that more than 80% of them were put to sleep.

The statistics show 1,185 horses were seized this year; 980 were euthanised while 205 were either reclaimed or rehomed.

The Control of Horses Act delegates responsibility to local authorities nationwide to deal with abandonment or cruelty cases when it comes to horses and donkeys.

A department spokesperson said: “While every effort is made to support rehoming, it remains a challenge because of the costs involved for prospective new owners.”

The department supports a number of horse welfare organisations financially with their rehoming efforts.

Meanwhile, Carmel Murray of the Irish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) said it was also experiencing high levels of calls concerning the welfare of horses and donkeys.

“In 2016, the ISPCA received 1,078 calls made to the National Animal Cruelty Helpline by members of the public relating to equines,” she said. “This figure is similar to the same period in 2015. Some 76 equines were seized by or surrendered to ISPCA Animal Welfare Inspectors from around the country to date versus 58 seized or surrendered in the same period in 2015.”

Currently, the ISPCA has 81 equines in its care between both of its centres in Longford and Cork. A total of 75 equines have been successfully rehomed so far this year by the charity, while others are still in rehabilitation.

The department spokesperson said anyone with concerns about horse welfare should email its Animal Welfare Helpline: animalwelfare@agriculture.gov.ie; or phone Lo Call 0761 064408.


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