Opinion

Letter to the editor: ‘I will pay no more towards the foal levy as we get nothing…’

I refer to the recent letter from Gerry Callanan regarding the foal levy.

I have been paying it for years. I didn’t know that I could register my foals with Weatherbys by only paying the registration fee.

Also Read: Letter to the editor: Levies for horse breeders are ‘unjust and unfair

I will pay no more towards the foal levy, as we get nothing from the people that get the money; that includes the Irish Equine Centre. From what I can see, it charges as much or more than any similar laboratory in the country.

The Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (ITBA) is supposed to work for all the breeders in the country. It seems to me that the stallion owners have most influence.

What about the small breeders that produce over 90% of the foals each year. Many of the salaries in these bodies are paid for by the foal levy…by many small breeders.

From Frances Flynn, Co. Wicklow

Why is the equine sector treated differently?

In the aforementioned ‘letter to the editor‘, Gerry Callanan offered his opinion of the imposition of the foal levy.

He explained:

Weatherbys Ireland is the organisation that registers thoroughbred foals. Weatherbys collects this levy at the point of registration, which it then receives a fee for. Breeders are under the misconception that they must pay this levy when registering a foal.

Once you ‘blood’ and ‘chip’ your foal and submit your registration forms along with a fee, Weatherbys must issue you with a passport that, in turn, must accompany every horse where it resides. Then it is up to Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to collect the levy.

The foal levy is distributed between a number of organisations, including: the Irish Equine Centre; Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association (ITBA); and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM).

The Irish Equine Centre, who is a not-for-profit organisation, does some great work but it doesn’t just work for breeders. Yet, it seems, only the breeders contribute through the levy.

We have suggested several times that the fairest way is to collect a 1% levy at the point of sale, because everyone in the industry here in Ireland sells a horse at some stage. All other levies in the agricultural sector, from what I can see, are collected at the point of sale. Why is the equine sector treated differently?