Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (43)

Barry Cowen

Question:

43. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of horses in the State at present; the arrangement in place to keep a record of these horses; the proposals to upgrade this system; the number of these proposals that have been implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21486/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I understand that a study entitled “Economic Contribution of the Sport Horse Industry to the Irish Economy” carried out by UCD in 2012 and commissioned by Horse Sport Ireland estimated the current population of sport horses registered with Passport Issuing Organisations at 124,000.

I also understand from estimates provided by Weatherbys Ireland and Horse Racing Ireland that in 2012 the number of thoroughbred horses in the breeding sector and in training was 30,000.

Currently under EU and National Legislation each Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) is required to maintain a database of all registrations. This information must be retained for at least 35 years or until at least 2 years from the notification of the date of death of a horse.

However, my Department is developing a central database which will involve migration of selected data from PIOs to the Department. It will also be populated with information provided from records obtained from slaughter plants and knackeries. The intention is that access to this system will enhance the controls and traceability in the equine industry. This database will also facilitate updated amendments to passports, for example, the recording of changes of ownership or equine status.