Horses that are neglected or abused have keepers that are breaking the laws of the Animal Health and Welfare Act and Control of Horses Act. You can help to bring sanction to these offenders and prevent further abuse by reporting to the Gardai. In order to facilitate authorities to bring sanction to these offenders the following mandatory identification requirements are in place and should be enforced by Gardai, Local Authorities and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine:
- Anyone keeping horses – either their own or those owned by others – must have an Equine Premises Number (EPN) from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). This information should be kept on their central database.
- Every equine must, by law, have a microchip inserted by the vet.
There are seven Passport Issuing Organisations, approved by DAFM.
- All horses, ponies and donkeys in the EU must have a passport from an approved issuing body before they are one year old, or before they are removed from the original breeder, whichever comes first. Each passport is a lifetime document and contains a Unique Equine Lifetime Number (UELN). The passport also contains a ‘marking sheet’ detailing the physical characteristics of the equine which is completed by the vet. The passport also contains the Microchip number, which is not always the same as the UELN.
- When the equine leaves the registered premises it must be accompanied by its passport.
If you see a horse, pony or donkey that is suffering – neglected, abused, starved or confined in an inappropriate environment – the first place to start is the Gardai. They can obtain a scanner to find a Microchip, or they can find the owner of the land. Both of these are people are responsible for complying with the law, and if they are not compliant they can be given an opportunity to comply before being fined or prosecuted by An Garda Siochana.