THE Irish State launched its second annual Equine Census this week and nearly 30,000 forms are being circulated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Recently the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee heard from Minister Charlie McConalogue and his officials that some 12,500 registered equine premises took part in last year’s inaugural Equine Census and with a new enhanced online portal now in place, it should be easier to comply this year with the looming deadline of December 16th.

The Minister and his department’s ongoing efforts to improve equine traceability are crucial to building up a more complete picture of where equines are principally located in our country, especially when it comes to the area of equine welfare, protection, and disease control. The advent of E-passports with real-time information on equine movements for competition, breeding or sales, is to be welcomed and will do much to bring the traceability of equines into line with the far tighter system applied to livestock via AIM (animal identification and movement system).

It’s worth pointing out that during the past week alone, over 40 people were arrested in Spain in connection with a criminal trade in illegal horsemeat unsuitable for human consumption. Millions of euros of profit was being made by these criminals in a major food fraud made off the backs of horses, in many cases suffering from a myriad of untreated health issues. Let’s hope that all sectors of the Irish equine community will get on board with their obligations and file their forms.

Flying sales trade

The major sport horse sales auction houses of Goresbridge, Cavan and Mullingar have now all hosted their last successful sales of 2022, and we bring you top coverage this week from Sally Parkyn and Margie McLoone (see pages 98-101). There was excellent trade for sport horses throughout the entire year while the Connemara Pony Sales in Clifden host their final two-day sale of the year this weekend.

Next week’s issue (December 10th) includes a FREE copy of The Irish Field Directory so don’t leave the shop without it!