Ireland is being flooded with low-value foals because of poor breeding decisions, the Irish SPCA says.
It is urging the country’s horse owners to “show more horse sense” in a bid to tackle what it calls an equine over-population crisis.
“The only real way to deal with the equine over-population crisis is for owners to take a more responsible attitude by ensuring their colts are professionally castrated at the appropriate age,” ISPCA chief executive Dr Andrew Kelly says.
“The fundamental reason for the epidemic of equine welfare problems is … that equines are too readily available and, in many cases, at too low a cost.
“The problems are compounded by a lack of accountability and traceability due to non-compliance with equine identification legislation and, of course, continued indiscriminate breeding.”
The charity says there is no market for the low-value foals, leading to cases of abandonment and serious neglect. In some cases, the horses are acquired by people without the knowledge or means to properly care for them.
The ISPCA says it is doing its best, along with other charities, to rehome unwanted horses, but warns that welfare groups are unable to deal with the large number of animals involved.
In a bid to halt the crisis, it has launched a national appeal urging owners to make responsible breeding decisions.
It has enlisted Irish horse lover and model Gillian Quinn to help in the appeal.
“Horses are magnificent and gentle creatures,” she says. “It breaks my heart to see so many unwanted foals neglected, abandoned and worse still badly abused.”