To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the use of a live reindeer in a busy Dublin shopping centre the regulations regarding such inappropriate exploitation of an animal in a crowded environment; if the ISPCA have been consulted; the action his department will take to ensure this is not repeated across the country in the run up to Christmas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. -Clare Daly TD
I understand that the reindeer was only present in the shopping centre for a very short period of time and there is no evidence that the welfare of the reindeer was compromised in any way. Nevertheless, while my Department appreciates the desire on the part of some people to enhance the experience of Christmas for children, I would urge anyone intending to use live animals for this purpose to first seek advice from my Department or the local authority veterinarian on the measures needed to ensure that the welfare of the animal is protected.
Section 11 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 provides that a person who has a protected animal, including a reindeer, in his or her possession or under his or her control, is obliged to ensure that the animal is kept and treated in a manner that safeguards the health and welfare of the animal. I would ask anyone who is concerned about the mistreatment of animals to contact my Department or An Gardai Siochana at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the welfare helpline at 076 1064408.
To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if her attention has been drawn to an incident on 26 November 2016 (details supplied) during which a number of dogs were put down after breaking into the club compound and killing a number of hares; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Clare Daly.
Ref No: 38358/16
R E P L Y
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Ms. Heather Humphreys, T.D.):
My Department is aware of the occurrence of a recent incident relating to hares captured and in captivity for the meeting in question. It is understood that the meeting was scheduled to take place on 10 and 11 December but that, following the incident, the coursing club has proposed that it be rescheduled for next January.
While full details are not clear at this stage, I have asked for a comprehensive report on the incident from the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) from both the perspective of the ICC and of the local coursing club. Officials of my Department are separately investigating the matter locally and have visited the club on several occasions over recent days.
In the meantime, pending completion of investigations and full consideration of the matter, I have directed the ICC, without prejudice, that the rescheduled meeting should be suspended and that no further hares should be captured for the meeting.