Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (456, 471)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

456. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an investigation is pending regarding the recent reports of an incident where the carcases of dead horses were left in a field in Clonmel, County Tipperary, earlier this week until locals became aware of same and that carcases were then moved to a halting site and put into a shed where staff of the local council found them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14757/14]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

471. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to an incident last week involving the carcases of dead horses found in a field in Clonmel, County Tipperary, and the subsequent removal of the carcases to a site which was later discovered by local councillors; if he will commit to reinforcing animal protection for horses in view of the burning of a horse in Dublin last November; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15086/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 456 and 471 together.

I understand that South Tipperary County Council received a report over Saint Patrick's weekend of a horse carcase in a field within its jurisdiction and the Council's Environmental Section dealt with the matter and had the carcase removed to a local knackery for disposal.

On the general matter of protecting animal welfare, the position is that the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which I commenced recently, applies to all animals including horses. The Act imposes clear obligations on owners to protect animal welfare and obliges persons with an animal in their possession regardless of whether they are the owner of the animal to not cause unnecessary suffering to or endanger the health or welfare of the animal. The Act provides for increased penalties for offences, with fines of up to €5,000 on summary conviction and €250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years on indictment. It also provides for fixed penalty payments for lesser offences.

My Department continues to work closely with the local authorities, the Gardai Siochana and animal welfare bodies with a view to addressing horse welfare issues.