Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (235)

Dara Calleary


235. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the criteria adopted by local authorities when dealing with stray horses; the timeframe involved from a local authority taking a stray horse to the local authority putting down that animal; if this rule also applies to horses in foal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26326/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Matters relating to stray or abandoned horses in urban and rural areas come within the scope of the Control of Horses Act, 1996 under which Local Authorities have been given extensive powers. These powers include the making of bye-laws for the control and welfare of horses in the local authorities’ functional area, together with provisions on licensing of horses within control areas and seizure and detention of stray or abandoned horses. In order to ensure greater uniformity in practice throughout the country, a Protocol, agreed between my Department and Local Authorities in May 2012 to ensure greater efficiencies in control of horses operations, recommended that all local authorities amend their bye-laws to allow for a maximum of five working day retention period for horses seized under the act prior to disposal. The advice to euthanize animals, where no possibility of re-homing or returning to owner exists, is in keeping with advice on humane disposal of horses from the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (which comprises representatives from a wide range of stakeholder organisations including farming, equine and welfare bodies).