Over 14,000 horses were seized between 2013 and 2016
An Independent TD is calling for an investigation into the growing number of horses being seized by the state, with a similarly large number being euthanised following maltreatment.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to immediately investigate why the total number of horses seized from 2013-2016 reached 14,454, with 12,088 of the animals having to be euthanised due to severe ill-treatment.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Department of Agriculture made available statistics on the numbers of horses seized county by county during four year period:
“I raised this matter with the Taoiseach today principally due to the clear animal welfare violations that are occurring in Tipperary with regard to sulky racing and the maltreatment of horses by irresponsible owners," he said.
"It is obvious to anyone who cares to see that the problem is particularly challenging among certain groups and that it is not being adequately addressed."
Of the 31 Local Authorities surveyed, Tipperary had the fifth highest number of euthanised horses in 2016, exceeded only by Dublin, Kildare and Limerick.
Only 277 of the 2,125 horses that were seized by all Local Authorities last year were re-homed.
He went to call on the seizure an "almost industrial scale problem".
"The [Agriculture] Minister must explain what he is going to do to tackle this very specific problem and in particular how he is going to address the apparent immunity that some groups have when it comes to issues of animal welfare,” concluded Deputy McGrath.