A farmers group in Ireland suggests the slaughter of 18,000 “now useless” horses is needed to end the country’s horse crisis.
The United Farmers Association slammed the country’s agriculture minister, Simon Coveney, for suggesting there was no crisis in the nation’s horse industry.
Senior officials in the association demanded to know why Coveney and the junior minister Tom Hayes “continue to insist in the face of all public and common knowledge that there is no crisis in the Irish horse industry”.
“This is either arrogance or complete disdain for the thousands of ordinary small-time breeders who are and have been the backbone of the Irish horse industry,” president Bertie Wall said.
“This section of the industry is in total meltdown, with an estimated 25,000 horses with no future, no monetary value, no market and whose owners cannot afford to keep them.
“Horses in worst-case scenarios are been dumped out on cutaway bogs and waste ground, country-wide, left to starve or freeze often in an emaciated, miserable state.
“Animal welfare organisations and facilities are at breaking point.
“It is nothing short of outrageous that the Department of Agriculture, through its political heads, continues to insist that there is no crisis.”
Wall said the stamping of all horse passports as “not fit for human consumption” was worsening the crisis.
“The solution is very sad but totally obvious – up to 18,000 of the estimated 25,000 now useless horses must be slaughtered.
“A great many, after completion of a simple blood test, could be declared fit for human consumption and killed in abattoirs and exported, or for those not fit for the abattoir could be sent to licensed knackerys and disposed of in an orderly and humane manner.
“Department vets who are not overworked could carry out these tests paid for as a one-off gesture by the department.
“This is the first time this section of the horse industry has sought and really needs some help.”
The association called on Coveney to act now, and listen to the pleas of concerned groups.
Wall was joined in issuing a statement on the crisis by secretary Roy Wallace, vice-president Sean Guerin and press officer Pat McCarthy.