Horrific treatment of Tipperary horses is condemned

Anne O'Grady


Anne O'Grady

One of the horses found at Knocklofty

The problem of cruelty and maltreatment needs to be tackled in a far more robust manner

The recent discovery of a number of emaciated and dead horses in the Knocklofty area of Clonmel is one of the worst instances of animal welfare neglect ever encountered, Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said. Deputy McGrath was speaking after visiting the site where the animals were found and after having contacted the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, on the matter:

“The abuse and neglect that these unfortunate animals have suffered is absolutely appalling. One of the worst elements of the case is that it is not the first time this has happened.

Everyone is only too aware that this problem is particularly linked with certain communities and for whom there appears to be little or no meaningful statutory sanctions available.

Earlier this year, I highlighted through Parliamentary Questions, the fact that tens of thousands of horses in this state have been routinely maltreated over the course of the last number of years.  

The total number of horses seized in the state from 2013-2016 reached an extraordinary 14,454 with 12,088 of the animals having to be euthanised due to severe ill-treatment.

I was shocked, but not surprised at the time to see that of the 129 horses seized in Tipperary in 2016 alone, only 3 were reclaimed by their owners while just 4 were re-homed. The other 122 horses were put down by the department.

This simply cannot be allowed to continue. There are clear and obvious violations of animal welfare regulations occurring and that must be addressed without fearing that offence will be given to some communities.

Minister Creed tells me that under The Control of Horses Act 1996 his department has offered millions in financial assistance towards the expenses incurred by the Local Authorities in operation of the Act, but says nothing about the financial contribution that each individual Local Authority has had to make on top of that assistance.

This is information we need to have if we are to have a clearer sense of the financial burdens these animal welfare issues are causing.

While the vast majority of people in Tipperary provide very high standards of care to their horses, the problem of cruelty and maltreatment remains acute among some groups and that needs to be tackled in a far more robust manner than it has been to date,” concluded Deputy McGrath.