Ireland’s agriculture minister has announced €1.8 million in funding to 136 organisations involved in animal care and welfare, including special increases to those dealing with horse welfare issues.
The two biggest recipients are the Irish SPCA and the Dublin SPCA, each of which will receive €210,000.
The Irish Horse Welfare Trust will receive €49,000, the Donkey Sanctuary in County Cork €84,000 and the Irish Blue Cross in Dublin will receive €68,400.
Minister Simon Coveney said the payments will be made to all 136 organisations immediately.
He said the level of funding provided had increased for the third year in a row, reflecting the importance of the work of the organisations and the overall welfare of animals.
“I am giving a special increase in funding to those organisations involved in horse welfare, to ensure sufficient resources are available to enable them to cater for any difficulties arising in the area of horse welfare over the coming year and to assist them in complying with new legislation on equine identification and equine premises registration,” he said.
Coveney said 2013 had been a challenging and demanding year for animal welfare organisations.
He said recent reports of animal cruelty had highlighted the need to assist animal welfare organisations.
“I am pleased to be able to provide support to these organisations by way of a grant to assist in their very important work and care of animals. My department has worked very closely with welfare organisations, local authorities and the Gardai [police] to intervene in cases of animal neglect or cruelty and we will continue to do so.
“It is not acceptable that there are instances where animals gifted at Christmas time for example are frequently abandoned by their new owners and, in these situations, the work of animal welfare organisations continues to play a very important role in protecting Ireland’s reputation as an animal caring nation.”
Coveney said the country’s adoption of its new Animal Health and Welfare Act this year was timely, consolidating a a wide range of existing laws.
It enshrined the five-freedoms concept of animal welfare which underpin best practice in every situation where animals were kept, whether for farming purposes, sporting, recreational or companion purposes. It obliges owners to provide feed, shelter, healthcare and welfare to their animals. It also ensures that practices of animal cruelty such as attending a dog fight are now a criminal offence.