5th August 2010
Dear Minister Smith TD,
As we celebrate all that is positive about the Irish Horse industry this week at the Dublin Horse Show, we ask you to consider the tragic equine reality. This time last year we warned of an impending equine crisis and, to our despair, our worst fears were realised.
On a daily basis we in the DSPCA are dealing with the impact of over-breeding, inadequate enforcement of horse identification systems and the effects of the economic downturn. Last year DSPCA alone rescued more than 106 horses from Dublin and the surrounding counties, of these, 47 needed to be euthanized.
We thought that last year was bad, but our calls are up more than 80% on 2009 and this winter will be the cruellest yet. On a daily basis we tend to horses that cannot get nourishment and adequate weight on them during these crucial summer months and so they will now face into a second brutal winter.
We are 8 weeks from further carnage in fields and scrub-land, from mistreated, malnourished equine around the country suffering a tragic end as the winter sets in and any bit of sustenance that the animals can get from the ground disappears.
In June of this year, University College Dublin published a report on Challenges and Solutions to support Good Equine Welfare Practises in Ireland. It highlighted the need for action to prevent further suffering and indeed your own department has acknowledged that it is required, yet still nothing has happened.
We are again calling for the regulation of horse fairs, implementation of the Control of Horses Act and Passport identification monitoring and support from all groups within the industry to address this equine crisis.
We are a self-professed nation of horse lovers and we breed world-leading equine, so how can we allow the equine crisis to persist? As Minister with responsibility in this area, as a horse-lover, how can you allow it to persist?
The animals that are at the Horse Show here are in such stark contrast to those that we rescue – the horses deliberately mistreated, left in fields to die. We cannot turn a blind eye to what is going on. In 8 weeks time we will be on the frontline again – dealing with the tragedy of starving animals on a daily basis. We need action at government level before it is too late.