I am fully committed to promoting good practices that respect the welfare of all animals and my Department devotes considerable resources to protecting animal welfare and in dealing with breaches of animal welfare legislation.
Officials from my Department are directly involved in monitoring animal welfare on farms as part of their inspection duties in the areas of animal health, food safety, transportation and welfare. My Department also actively works via the regional Early Warning System to ensure that potential welfare problems in farming are identified at an early stage and, wherever possible, avoided.
I would encourage anyone who has evidence of a breach of animal welfare to report it to the Animal Welfare Hotline operated by my Department. The phone numbers of the hotline are as follows: Call Save: 076 1064408; Phone: 01 6072379
Where breaches of animal welfare are suspected, these can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to point out that control in respect of animal welfare is a matter that is also dealt with by a wide range of organisations not just my Department. In the case of non-farmed animals, a vital role is played by An Gárda Síochána, Local Authorities and authorised officers of the ISPCA and DSPCA. These latter are some of the many recipients of substantial ex-gratia funding which my Department provides to underpin important work done by many organisations in the area of supporting animal welfare.
In December 2018, I announced the largest ever Department allocation of funding to 108 animal welfare organisations of €2.75m.
An advertisement was placed in the national press earlier this year inviting applications from welfare bodies for funding in respect of their activities in 2020. Applications for funding from animal welfare bodies are assessed and awards made on the basis of certain criteria, including the level and type of assistance provided by the organisation in the delivery of care and welfare services to animals and the level of funding raised from other sources to support welfare activities. To date, 110 applications have been received. These are currently being processed and I expect to make an announcement on funding by the end of the year.