Agriculture/Animal Welfare, Dáil Issues, Parliamentary Questions

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed)

by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 09/03/2017
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the oversight role played by his department in ensuring that the codes of practice drawn up under section 25 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act, 2013, along with the provision in the Act that prohibits the hunting of animals which have been released in an injured, mutilated or exhausted condition, is adhered to by hunt clubs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY.
The Hunting Association of Ireland has a detailed code of conduct in place in respect of the hunting of foxes. This code places responsibility on member packs to ensure that hunting is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 that prohibit the hunting of animals which have been released in an injured, mutilated or exhausted condition. Evidence of breaches can be reported to the Animal Welfare Hotline operated by my Department.

Section 25 of the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 also allows for the establishment of codes of practice and for the adoption of codes published by other persons for the purposes of providing practical guidance relating to any aspect of the Act, including fox hunting. My Department has engaged with the hunting associations with a view to adopting codes of practice under Section 25 of the Act in order to ensure that those who participate in hunting will continue to honour their obligations to maintain the highest standards of behaviour at all times.

I am fully committed to promoting good practices that respect the welfare of all animals and my Department devotes considerable resources to protecting animal welfare and in dealing with breaches of animal welfare legislation. Under the Act, on summary conviction, a person can receive a fine of up to €10,000 and, on indictment, €250,000 and/or imprisonment up to 5 years. There are fixed penalty payments for lesser offences. The Act provides the framework within which the welfare of animals can be safeguarded and I am hopeful that the substantial and significantly increased levels of penalties for offences of animal cruelty provided for under the Act will act as a deterrent to animal welfare abuses.

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 09/03/2017
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the steps he will take to amend the foal levy scheme to make it more equitable.

REPLY.
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial state body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The current Foal Levy scheme, which was introduced in 2000 on a statutory basis, applies to all thoroughbred foals registered in Ireland. The Foal Levy is currently calculated with reference to SI 735 of 2011 which is the governing legislation.

HRI’s Foal Levy Committee reviews the rates, bands and structures of the levy on an annual basis and have also considered potential alternative methodologies to calculate the levy due. They have concluded that the current banded/tiered approach represents the most equitable and appropriate way of securing the vital funds needed for the breeding sector. I understand that the majority of foals registered fall into the two lower bands of €35 and €50, and that there is a very high compliance rate of circa 98.3%