Fianna Fáil TD, Jackie Cahill has said that it is about time that the issue of horse cruelty is firmly and finally dealt with legislatively.

Deputy Cahill was commenting after raising the horror of horse cruelty at a meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee and the need for a comprehensive investigation into the legislation that currently covers horse cruelty and whether it is fit for purpose.

At present, the issue of horse cruelty is covered by two pieces of legislation – the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the Control of Horses Act 1996. Local Authorities, such as Tipp County Council, are delegated responsibility for maintaining adherence to these laws. However, I do feel that not enough funding is being made available to the 31 county and city councils to implement the current laws.

“In 2017, just €533,000 was provided to local authorities. However, there is growing evidence that cruelty to horses is on the rise, and that local authorities, and other bodies such as the ISPCA and An Garda Síochána, are struggling to protect horses at risk.

“Therefore, we must ask a number of questions: Is the current legislation strong enough; is the legislation being implemented properly and is the right level of funding sufficient to ensure that the implementation of the law is robust enough.

“Additionally, we need to ensure that deterrents and punishments available to An Garda Síochána and other bodies are strong enough.

“Thankfully my fellow committee members agreed with my suggestion and a review of the legislation will now take place. How we treat animals is a really strong determinant of the type of society we are. We can and do much more to ensure that no animal, including horses, suffers abuse or maltreatment,” concluded Cahill.