Plans for horse database fast-tracked

The details of more than 70% of all horses registered in this country for the past 33 years will be recorded on a centralised system by tomorrow as part of the response to the horsemeat scandal.

In an effort to tighten up controls on the movement of animals, Simon Coveney, the agriculture minister, said he has speeded up the establishment of an equine database which will contain the passport information of all horses registered here since Jan 1980.

The passports contain information about the animal — including any medicines administered to it — and must be presented to an abattoir to determine if it is fit for human consumption.

“Facilities are being put in place during this weekend to receive and record equine animal registration details received from passport issuing organisations,” Mr Coveney said yesterday.

“The information on the central equine database will be used by my department’s veterinary staff to supplement the current checks at slaughterhouses.”

The establishment of the database, similar to what is already in place for sheep and cattle, was announced by Mr Coveney in March as part of his overall response to the horsemeat scandal.

The number of horses being slaughtered here has risen dramatically in recent years, to about 13,000 in 2012. The lack of a central database meant problems with traceability.

Earlier this year, a number of horses were found to have false identities with their passports not matching their microchips. Some horses were presented to an abattoir as yearlings but were much older.


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