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IHWT calls on Minister Coveney to assist in addressing Horse Welfare and help plan long term solutions – Press Release

Engagement with horse owners and communities key to success

Irish Horse Welfare Trust ambassador Moscow FlyerIrish charity Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) is calling on Simon Coveney TD, Minister of Agriculture, to assist the charity in addressing the ongoing issue of Horse Welfare in Ireland and help plan long term solutions.

IHWT co-founder Sharon Newsome explains: “The equine problem in Ireland is diverse, but we must begin with tackling root and branch causes such as indiscriminate breeding and lack of education. Our charity continues to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home neglected equines; however whilst equipped with excellent facilities even the IHWT does not have the capacity or resources to continue to deal with such large numbers of equines on an ongoing basis.

Currently the charity is caring for 75 equines which is the maximum capacity for the farm at any one time. 

“A drive is needed to decrease the horse population by being progressive and humane in our thinking and implementing change through management planning whilst bringing education where it is most needed,” adds Newsome. “Engagement with horse owners and communities is the key to success and this needs the support of all the relevant agencies.”

IHWT has also announced further progressive plans to address the ongoing issues relating to horse welfare in Ireland. Following the successful intervention by the charity at Dunsink in Dublin where long standing issues relating to equine welfare are now being addressed, plans are underway to roll out similar programmes in other problematic areas of the country. 

The Dunsink project involved an extensive identification programme and health check of horses and ponies along with a targeted castration programme and an ongoing equine management plan for the area.  For the first time in the history of the landfill site, there will be no further indiscriminate breeding which is a major factor adding to the ongoing problems.  In addition the IHWT is running Horse Care and Welfare Courses in the area.

IHWT is hopeful that other councils or government agencies may wish to avail of similar programmes in their areas, and is offering a consultative approach to assist, tackle or address matters in equine welfare black spots, or  problem areas.

Ruairi O’Dulaing, of Fingal Co Council, says “This programme of change at Dunsink would not have happened without IHWT intervention, their equine expertise and professionalism has underpinned this initiative, and their continued support with the Dunsink horse project is invaluable.”

IHWT has written to the Minister of Agriculture in recent days, to express the possibility of developing an Equine Identification, Management and Castration Programme, targeted at ‘problem’ areas.   

In order for this programme to be effective, it would need to be co-ordinated through the use of local DVO’s and County Councils. Welfare charities can be of value in terms of support or on the ground assistance.

“Working for real and lasting change is what is needed. A measured, structured, and targeted Welfare response programme, that is cost effective, as well as being transparent and easy to implement,” adds Newsome.

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