The fears of show and event organisers over compliance regarding Ireland’s new premises registration requirements have been allayed by Horse Sport Ireland and the Department of Agriculture.
Under a new statutory instrument announced last month horse owners and keepers are required to register all premises with the Department of Agriculture before May 1.
The delegation of Horse Sport Ireland representatives met with the Department of Agriculture to seek clarification in relation to how the new requirements apply to the organisers of shows and events.
The delegation was led by Horse Sport Ireland’s CEO Damian McDonald and included Belle Balding (IPC), Orla Griffen (SJI), Michael Hughes (ISA), David Lalor (HAI) and Linda Young (AIRE).
“There was particular concern in relation to events where horses cross farmers’ lands during events and whether these farmers would need to register their premises,” McDonald said. “The Department made it clear that this was not required.”
He said that there was a need for more consideration to be given as to how the requirement would apply to event organizers.
“The meeting was very useful and we would expect that the Department will give further clarity for event organisers shortly,” he said.
“We would also expect that some amendments will be made to the application form to make it a little more user friendly,” he said.
“Horse Sport Ireland supports the initiative to register premises as an important disease control measure but more clarity is needed in relation to equestrian shows,” he said.
“However, horses move a lot more than other farm animals and most events are organised by people on a voluntary basis. We need a workable solution so that the Department knows where horses are in the case of an outbreak, but which doesn’t place too large a burden on organisers,” McDonald explained.
McDonald said that it was unfortunate that the measure had been announced at a time when there was a lot of public debate about registering for the household charge and registering septic tanks, but that horse owners should register their premises as it would ultimately benefit the sector.
“If there is a disease issue the Department will notify registered premises owners in the case of a problem, so it is important to be on the list so you will be notified and can take appropriate measures to protect your horses,” he said.
To register, owners and keepers need to fill out a form which can be obtained on the Department of Agriculture website (www.agriculture.gov.ie), or from their local district veterinary office.