The practice of putting down stray horses and in particular mares in foal after five days unless they have been claimed by their owners was described as “something that I don’t think anyone with any decency can stand over,” by Independent Cllr Gerry Ginty this week.
The Ballina town councillor put forward a notice of motion at the July meeting of the council saying “Ballina Town Council calls on the Minister for Agriculture to order an end to the killing of stray and unwanted horses and in particular the barbaric killing of mares in foal.”
Cllr Ginty told the meeting that he had no problem with Mayo County Council who contract out the work to a third party, as they are obliged to do so by law and they even agreed to stretch out the period of time they hold on to the horses to 21 days, but they were told in no uncertain terms by the Department of Agriculture that they couldn’t do this. He also said that he had no issue with the person who was contracted to carry out the work as he showed more care and compassion towards the horses than the people who left them unwanted and straying.
The councillor, who is a long time campaigner on the issue, told the chamber of a recent event where a mare was adopted from the pound by a couple days before it was due to be destroyed and gave birth to a healthy foal, less than a week later. He went on to say: “We’re being told that this is being carried out for economic reasons, but if half the money that was spent on this practice was given to the charities and groups that look after and take in these animals, we wouldn’t have the problem at all.”
He also stated that the removal of farmers being able to claim on their grant aid for a horse is adding to the problems and that the Queen and top Chinese government officials were brought to see the top class stud facilities in the country when they were here, but it would have been more in line to show them this practice to give them a real look at how we treat horses in the country.
There was full support from the other councillors for Cllr Ginty’s proposal, with Cllr Peter Clarke saying the current practice makes him sick.