Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Horse registration fails to take off

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

FEWER than 3,000 landowners have registered their premises under new Government rules to protect Ireland's multi-million euro horse industry from disease.

Under new regulations, landowners in charge of a holding or premises where horses are kept must register them, whether they own the horses or not.

However, only a fraction of those who keep horses in Ireland have complied with the regulations.

The Department of Agriculture has been urged to carry out an awareness campaign after claims they have failed to get the message across to all landowners.

James Murphy, the IFA's horse committee chairman, said the majority of people remained "blissfully unaware" they should register their farm if horses were kept on their land.

"The Department needs to up their game in getting the message across to horse owners, farmers and landowners that they must register their premises," said Mr Murphy.

Figures revealed 2,892 horse owners and keepers had notified the Department that they had horses on their premises by the end of June. This brought the number of horse herds registered to 4,889, as there were already 2,000 listed with the Department.

The numbers registered since May 1 until the end of June account for around 29,600 horses. But there are around 110,000 sport horses in the country, as well as 9,800 race horses. There are a further 13,700 thoroughbred mares, and 7,550 foals were registered last year.

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A spokesman for the Department said they were encouraging people to register and help create a complete computer database on "locations of animals as an essential tool in disease control". He said there were no plans for an information campaign.

Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) chief executive, Damian McDonald, said HSI had met with the Department to discuss ways to encourage people to register their premises.

Shane O'Dwyer, manager of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association (ITBA), said his organisation had informed its 1,100 members of the new rules.

"We're continuously harping home on the fact that for Ireland to have a disease-free status is absolutely crucial as it opens our markets," said Mr O'Dwyer. Registration forms are available online at and at veterinary centres.

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