Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Questions (833)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

833. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he plans to take to ensure all Connemara ponies for sale are tested first for HWSD irrespective of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15657/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Connemara Pony Breeders Society (CPBS) has been approved by my Department to maintain the Studbook for Connemara Ponies and, in this regard, operates a breeding programme for the breed. Within its breeding programme, the CPBS has identified the presence of Hoof Wall Separation Disease (HWSD) which is caused by a genetic defect that appears to occur only in the Connemara pony breed. Research carried out by the Connemara Pony Breeders Society, in conjunction with Weatherbys, has enabled them to test for the presence of the HWSD gene.

In response to the presence of the problem in the breed, the CPBS has included in its breeding programme, the requirement that all foals born after 1/1/2016 are tested for HWSD and the result of this test is stamped on the horse’s passport. In addition, in 2019, CPBS has offered a discounted rate to test older ponies for HSWD and has stepped up its their awareness campaign among members.

My Department has allocated funding over the past number of years to the CPBS under the Equine Technical Support Scheme to facilitate this project.