Animal Welfare

Nov
2014
13

Animal Welfare, Dáil Work

These are important questions raised with Minister Coveney regarding the DSPCA and animal cruelty and issues that we will continue to campaign on.

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views regarding the operation of the DSPCA, which has received substantial funds from his Department in order to carry out important animal welfare functions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Clare Daly.
REPLY

The Minister for Agriculture, Foodand the Marine : (Simon Coveney)

The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA), a registered charity, established in 1840, is one of a number of animal welfare organisations providing an important service to animals in need in the greater Dublin area. As a registered charity, the DSPCA comes under the scope of the new Charities Regulatory Authority which has been established under the terms of the Charities Act 2009 and falls within the area of responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality.

With regard to its animal welfare activities, the DSPCA is amongst 136 animal welfare bodies who received funding from my Department in 2013 to assist in its work in dealing with problems associated with cruelty, neglect and sickness to animals and in important work in rescue and rehoming of animals. Each organisation in receipt of funding for animal welfare activities is provided with a detailed Code of Practice by my Department, which sets out recommendations aimed at promoting sound animal welfare and management practices. In particular, the DSPCA (as with other recipients of funding) is asked to ensure that the general public in their catchment areas is aware of the organisation’s activities as this provides an opportunity for people to report on suspected cases of animal cruelty. I am aware that the DSPCA has a very active engagement with school and community groups in the greater Dublin area and its environs and that it provides a valuable service in relation to animal welfare issues in the area.

Parliamentary Question No. 34

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views regarding the amount of prosecutions for animal cruelty under the Animal Health and Welfare Act; his plans to improve the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Clare Daly.

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 12th November, 2014.

Ref No: 42807/14 Lottery: 30 Proof: 30

REPLY

The Minister for Agriculture, Foodand the Marine : (Simon Coveney)

The Animal Health and Welfare Act, 2013 is a significant piece of legislation replacing a wide range of acts relating to animal health and welfare dating back over a century. The Act places specific requirements on animal keepers to care for animals rather than merely avoid cruelty. Its main elements were commenced with effect from 6th March 2014 and on the same day, a series of regulations and orders were made relating to different aspects of the Act.

Since its commencement a number of files have been prepared for alleged offences under the Act, ranging from cruelty to dogs, failure to comply with animal health and welfare notices and failure to protect for the welfare of cattle, horses, sheep and pigs. To date there has been one successful prosecution. Of the remaining files some are with the Chief State Solicitor for the institution of prosecutions while others are being progressed by An Garda Síochána and/or under consideration with my Department’s legal officers. Prior to the introduction of the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013, the main statutes governing cruelty to animals was the Protection of Animals Act, 1911 and Protection of Animals (amendment) Act, 1965 and responsibility for pursuing complaints under that legislation rested with An Garda Síochána. Cases are ongoing in this regard and prosecutions are pending before the Courts in this context.

I consider training of and the provision of information to stakeholders to be an integral part of bringing any Act of the Oireachtas into operation, particularly since, in the case of the Animal Health and Welfare Act, there are provisions for officers from some non-governmental organisations to be authorised for certain specified functions under the Act. There must be confidence that powers will be used in a professional manner by officers with appropriate skills and training. To date my Department has organised seminars relating to the application of the Act for authorised officers from my Department and from some NGOs and members of An Garda Síochána. Further training seminars are planned for the future.

I would urge members of the public to continue to report incidents of animal cruelty to my Department’s animal welfare helpline at 0761 0644 08 (call save).