The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is urging members of the public not to feed horses and donkeys without the owner’s permission.

In a statement, the DAFM said: “Many of us are enjoying walks along boreens and village roads this summer and will likely get the opportunity to see horses and donkeys up close.

“The department is urging people, however, not to feed these animals without the owner’s permission.

“While it may be well-intentioned, the feeding of bread, food scraps, fruit or vegetables to horses or donkeys may cause severe illness, choking or death.

“What may seem like a treat could be potentially fatal for the animals. Additionally, the horses and donkeys may be put at risk of developing laminitis (a painful swelling of the feet) or suffering colic (a condition which can be serious and even fatal).”

Feeding horses and donkeys

The public are asked to be mindful that feeding grass cuttings or garden waste to equines can also be dangerous.

Chemicals applied to lawns may be harmful if eaten, while plants mixed with grass cuttings may be poisonous to horses and donkeys if ingested, the department has stressed.

“And remember – don’t open farm gates, or enter fields in which animals are kept, without the owner’s permission,” the DAFM statement added.


The warning from the DAFM comes ahead of a weekend where many people are expected to be out and about enjoying the fine weather, either walking or pursing outdoor activities.

According to Met Éireann, the weekend will see dry, settled and warm conditions, with high pressure set to predominate into next week as well.

Any showers today should die away through the late afternoon leaving long spells of sunshine, hazier though in the southwest. Highest temperatures of 15° to 19°, warmest in the southeast in light to moderate northwest breezes.

There will be good clear spells early tonight, but it will become cloudier, especially in Ulster and Connacht, with patchy light rain or drizzle developing by morning. Lowest temperatures will be 6° to 10°, with some pockets of mist and fog developing as winds fall light and variable.

Tomorrow morning (Saturday, August 6) will be dry and sunny in much of the south and east, but Connacht and Ulster will see cloudier conditions, with some patchy light rain or drizzle at times.

This will spread to all parts for a time by early afternoon but it will become drier again by evening with some hazy sunny spells developing. Highest temperatures will be 16° to 21° generally, warmest in the southeast in light to moderate westerly winds.