Number of stray horses seized in Waterford revealed

Big inconsistencies between some counties

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Number of stray horses seized in Waterford revealed

Number of stray horses seized in Waterford revealed

Thousands of stray or abandoned horses have been seized by councils in Ireland since 2015, according to the latest official figures.

While Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed told the Dáil that the number being seized by county and city authorities is dropping, the figures reveal big inconsistencies in the numbers seized from county to county.

There also appears to be a dramatic drop-off in 2019 in some counties. 

The figures show that 8,636 horses were seized from 2015 until the end of September 2019. The biggest numbers were seized in cities.

The figures show big differences between some local authorities. For instance, just 33 horses have been seized since 2015 in Cavan compared with 148 in Waterford for the same period.

The figures suggest that 31 horses have been seized in Waterford so far in 2019 compared to 28 for the whole of last year.

More below table of horses Seized 2015-2019

In a reply to Deputy Jackie Cahill, Minister Creed said the Control of Horses Act 1996, provides the necessary powers to local authorities to deal with stray and abandoned horses.

He said the Act contains provisions for the licencing and identification of horses and was introduced to address the issues caused by stray and wandering horses due to public safety concerns. Minister Creed said the primary purpose of the Act was to address the dangerous and unacceptable situation of horses being kept in unsuitable conditions which in many cases resulted in horses wandering onto public roads and public lands posing very serious risks to the public especially motorists and young children. The Minister said the Act provides for the designation, by local authority bye-laws, of control areas in which horses cannot be kept without a licence. Enforcement the Act is a matter for each Local Authority.

"The number of horses being seized nationally continues to decline. This reduction is reflective of a number of factors including initiatives being progressed by my Department in the animal welfare area as well as active enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the EU Equine Identification Regulations.

"In tandem with the work of the Local Authorities under the Control of Horses Act, officials of my Department have been directly involved in a number of horse seizures and have initiated prosecutions under the Animal Health and Welfare Act," said the Minister.