The Department of Agriculture has issued a reminder to the public not to feed horses and donkeys unless you have permission to do so from their owners.
With the fine weather that has gripped the nation, more and more people are out and about and journeying along village roads and boreens. Many people will pass fields containing horses, and they’ll mean well when they offer food to the field’s dwellers.
This, however, is not something that should be done without prior permission.
Feeding bread, fruit, vegetables, or other food scraps to these animals can be dangerous and cause severe illness, choking, or even death.
It might also increase the chances of the horses or donkeys developing laminitis – a painful swelling of the feet – or suffering colic, which can be serious or even fatal.
“The public are asked to be mindful that feeding grass cuttings or garden waste to equines can also be dangerous,” a Department statement warned this week.
“Chemicals applied to lawns may be harmful if eaten, while plants mixed with grass cuttings may be poisonous to horses and donkeys if ingested.
“And remember: don’t open farm gates, or enter fields in which animals are kept, without the owner’s permission,” the statement added.