Disconcerting figures concerning horse grazing on public lands have been released on Dec. 9, 2013, by the Irish Independent. Apparently, efforts by local officials to control loose and turned out horses have been stepped up.
The majority of those horses removed from public lands are being euthanized. In fact, about 80 percent of all horses removed from public lands are euthanized – this figure alone is up by at least 25 percent this year.
The grim statistics are borne out by the Department of Agriculture. During the current year, 3,288 horses have been removed from public lands under authority of the Control of Horses Act of 1996. Of this total number of horses seized, 2,658 have been euthanized. Only 9 percent of the seized horses were actually reclaimed by their owners – that translates to 308 horses.
Horse owners can only reclaim their horses if they are able to prove compliance with legislation on horse identification and that the horses are housed on registered equine properties.
At this time, there are 95 horses still housed in pounds. A total of 262 horses have been saved by welfare charities and will eventually be rehomed or placed in sanctuaries.
It is estimated that dealing with horses has cost Irish councils over €5 million in 2013.
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