Horse owners have been advised by the Department of Agriculture to register their equine stock.

Following advice received by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC), the Department is advises horse owners to adhere to the legal requirement for all equines to be properly identified within six months of the date of birth of the animal or within the calendar year of the animal’s birth (whichever is the later).

It says this requires equines born in 2014, prior to July 1, to be identified by December 31.

The Department of Agriculture says if a horse is not identified within this time-frame it could lead to a significant cost to the owner in the future as unidentified horses are automatically and irrevocably excluded from slaughter for human consumption and disposal options for undocumented horses are limited and expensive.

In this regard, the Department of Agriculture reminds owners to contact a relevant approved passport issuing organisation (PIO) to arrange for the timely identification of their horses.

Additionally the Department has said that the Council has reiterated its advice for situations where an owner can no longer provide for or where the equine no longer fulfils the purpose for which it was bred, owners should be proactive in seeking to dispose of the animal before its welfare is compromised – including consideration of the option of humane disposal where the horse cannot be sold/transferred to another responsible owner.

It says such action will help prevent the emergence of long-term and severe animal welfare problems.

FAWAC continues to stress the importance of responsible breeding and responsible ownership. For more information please consult the FAWAC Animal Welfare Guidelines for Horses, Ponies and Donkeys available from the FAWAC website at