An equine charity has asked the Agriculture Minister to begin a program of identification, management and castration for horses in “problem” areas.
The Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) sent a letter to Minister Simon Coveney proposing that the program – which the charity has already put in place in Dunsink, Dublin – be extended to the rest of the country.
According to Sharon Newsome the program is working well in the Dunsink area and the policy of simply impounding the horses is a “never-ending story” and fails to provide a long-term solution to the fate of animals in areas with a “horse culture”. She said:
We have been working with the horse owners in Dunsink, establishing who are the responsible owners, and weeding out the irresponsible. The reason we cite castration as an important part of the program is that it is very important in open populations like the horses in Dunsink. The situation there was that you had mares and stallions running together, living on the dump and foals being born into that every year for the past 25 years.
The owners don’t actually want to be breeding horses, and they signed up, no problem. We castrated 17 stallions there.
Newsome said that a long-term alternative to impounding horses is vital – currently, the charity is caring for a maximum capacity of 75 horses on their farm. She added: