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Agriculture Schemes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (783)

Éamon Ó Cuív


783. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the introduction of an equine census that includes donkeys will cease with the need to forward passports for donkeys to his Department for the purposes of the ANC scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61507/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In keeping with my commitment to review and enhance the equine identification and tracing system, as set out in Ireland's Animal Welfare Strategy 2021-2025, I initiated the undertaking of the first annual equine census in November 2021.

The initial purpose of the census is to establish a link between each equine kept in the State and the premises on which it is kept on census date. The information submitted will provide important information in the event of an equine disease outbreak, in addressing public health concerns and in dealing with lost, straying or stolen horses.

This census data will be built on in 2022, when I propose to provide equine keepers with limited access to my Department's Animal identification and Movement (AIM) system, which houses the central equine database, allowing them to notify the Department directly when an equine moves residence. This will facilitate compliance with the EU Animal Health Law requirement to record the habitual residence of all equines on the central equine database.

It is expected that the linking of each equine to its place of residence will further enhance compliance with equine legislation where equine keepers are responsible for the health and welfare of all equines in their care.

With the introduction of the equine census, my Department is considering how the information that will now be gathered through both the equine census and the AIM system from 2022 can support the livestock checks that are a necessary requirement of the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme.

Question No. 784 answered with Question No. 766.