News & Features


DSPCA calls for the immediate suspension of Smithfield March Market Horse Fair

Thursday March 03, 2011

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Construction work by Dublin City Council on Plaza limits the capacity of square to half the size as hundreds of horses predicted to be brought to fair.

The Dublin Society of Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) has called for Sunday’s planned Horse fair to be immediately suspended. This follows the announcement that Dublin City Council (DCC) construction works will halve the space available for what is usually the most over attended of the horse fairs.


With up to 400 horses predicted to be brought to the market for sale this Sunday, the already dire conditions at the fair are expected to be exacerbated further and pose a considerable danger to both the public and animals.  A survey commissioned by the DCC found the unlicensed and uninsured fair to be a significant Health and Safety risk in all 16 categories examined.

Orla Aungier of the DSPCA said “The thought of that many horses packed into such a small area is a horrifying. This is as well as the obvious Equine neglect the DSPCA and DCC comes across every month the fair is held. At a time when the plight of Irish horses has become an international news story, Smithfield remains an ugly reminder of our equine crisis”.

Last month an attempt was made to sell an emaciated, one eyed pony in obvious need to of veterinary attention to an 8 year old child, the animal was subsequently put to sleep on veterinary grounds  while a donkey foal was abandoned and had to be taken into the care.


Since January the 1st our Inspectors have been called out to 156 individual calls relating to horses.  From these calls, 13 of these animals had to be destroyed due to the severity of their sickness or injury, eight at the scene they were found and five at the DSPCA shelter after considerable work was done to in an attempt to save them. A further 7 horses brought to the centre are undergoing treatment.

The DSPCA completely support the DCC’s call for legislation to be enacted that will shut the fair down completely. This market is unlicenced, unregulated and there is no accountability or traceability on the horses sold there. This is long overdue and should be a priority for the new government.

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