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Ireland : Minister Coveney Awards Funding to Animal Welfare Organisations.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney TD, has announced funding of 2,541,000 to 140 organisations involved in safeguarding animal welfare throughout the country. The payments will be made with immediate effect.

Making the announcement at the Irish Blue Cross Clinic in Inchicore, the Minister said that 'animal welfare organisations make a tremendous contribution to the welfare of animals, in particular, by educating the public on best practice, by making effective interventions where appropriate and providing facilities for at-risk animals. The increase in workload for animal welfare bodies due to new animal welfare legislation, including the new dog microchipping legislation, and the continuing albeit decreasing reporting of incidences of animal neglect to the Departments animal welfare helpline clearly demonstrates a need to assist animal welfare organisations in their important work. I am pleased therefore to be in a position to increase funding to animal welfare organisations for the fifth consecutive year.

Minister Coveney noted that some welfare organisations, such as the Irish Blue Cross had taken on an additional workload in recent years, particularly in dog welfare. In addition, staff in other organisations such as the ISPCA and the DSPCA had taken on roles as authorised officers under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, resulting in increased demands on their resources. Commenting on this, the Minister said that I welcome the very active role being played by the ISPCA and the DSPCA as authorised officers in applying the Act to domestic animals.

Elaborating on the increased allocations, Minister Coveney stated that whilst I have increased the available supports generally, I am particularly mindful of the additional challenge associated with the impending requirement that all dogs must be microchipped from 31 March 2016. For 2016, I have therefore set aside specific funding to be targeted to the development of projects and initiatives around dog micro-chipping, along the lines of that announced at the Animal Welfare Conference held earlier this year in Farmleigh. This additional specific funding has been added to the allocation to certain organisations. Officials will be liaising with organisations early in the New Year to outline specific areas in which this element of this years funding is to be targeted.

The Minister referred to the issue of equine welfare and said that it is encouraging to report that the scale of the unwanted horse problem and associated welfare issues continue to decrease significantly. The Minister went on to say that I believe that greater enforcement of equine legislation, improved traceability through a more effective passport regime, a central equine database, financial support for subsidised horse castration projects to reduce indiscriminate breeding has delivered huge positives for equine welfare in the past twelve months. Some of the recipients of todays funding are supporting the development of facilities for horse projects, targeted at the younger horse owning population and include modules on a range of practical skills and knowledge in care for equines. These organisations will also be requested to develop dedicated projects providing for equine castration in order to reduce indiscriminate breeding and improve horse welfare.

The Minister commended the introduction earlier this year of the Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Groups (IPAAGs) minimum standards to protect the welfare of animals sold online. IPPAG plays an important role in raising public awareness on necessity to act responsibly when buying pets from websites and publications.

In making this years awards, the Minister said that in order to ensure continued good governance among these largely voluntary organisations, all recipients of funding will be provided with a code of practice setting out my Departments recommendations on sound welfare and management practices to be adhered to when carrying out their work. The Minister continued I want to emphasise that incidents of animal cruelty are totally unacceptable and I am determined that the Animal Health and Welfare Act together with the important dog microchipping legislation will be vigorously and fairly applied in the best interests of animal welfare by my Department, animal welfare organisations and other agencies, including An Garda Sochna.

Once again Minister Coveney asked members of the public to exercise discretion when considering gifting animals as pets this Christmas time. Owning pets involves extensive commitment and can be costly and there are clearly instances where such gifts, which may be well meaning, are often times abandoned by their new owners when the novelty wears off and it is left to the animal welfare charities to deal with the consequences of these abandonments which places unnecessary pressure on their resources.

Finally, the Minister stated that he and his Department would continue to work closely with animal welfare groups. He reminded the public of the dedicated email address and helpline in operation in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for members of the public to report incidents of animal cruelty.

Details of the organisations approved for funding and the amounts allocated to each organisation are detailed in the attached table.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Dec 19, 2015
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