Horse disposal scheme planned
The Department of Agriculture has confirmed it is currently examining a number of suggestions relating to a disposal scheme for unwanted horses.
The move comes as animal welfare charities warn of a looming crisis this autumn and winter that they say would see thousands of horses die slow and painful deaths through neglect.
Some 6,445 horses and ponies were slaughtered for human consumption in the first half of this year, putting the country on track to slaughter around 12,000 for the full year. However, this is just half the 24,411 horses that were slaughtered in 2012.
Strict regulations on the passports of horses for slaughter means thousands of horses are excluded from factory disposal, leaving many with no viable outlet for animals.
Barbara Bent of the ISPCA said she could clearly see the need for a horse disposal scheme to prevent unnecessary suffering but added that it was essential the existing horse identification rules were implemented.