Tipperary politician speaks out against sulky racing

6 Jul

“A crazy situation of cruelty”: Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath speaks out against sulky racing and criticises the Gardai for “insisting that a sick horse be returned to the people who abused him”.

While we welcome Mattie McGrath’s condemnation of cruelty and acknowledgement that “the abuse of animals…in Tipperary is appalling”, it should be noted that this is the same TD who is a vocal supporter of one of Tipperary’s worst acts of animal abuse, i.e. hare coursing. He has attended the coursing crueltyfest in Clonmel and is on record as saying “I am totally supportive of the practice of coursing”. Last year, he voted against a proposed ban on hare coursing and voted in favour of a €80 million euro government grant to the horse and greyhound industries.

Watch video footage of a hare being severely mauled during coursing in Clonmel


Thank Mattie McGrath for raising the issue of horse abuse. Ask him to extend his concern for animals to the thousands of hares snatched from the wild and used as live lures for dogs to terrorise at coursing meetings.

Email: mattie.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie
Tel: 01-6184062
Mobile: 086-8184307
Comment on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MattieMcGrathTD
Tweet to @mattiemcgrathtd


Dáil debates
Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) In 2016 alone the total amount of horses that were seized, reclaimed, re-homed or indeed euthanised in the State was an astonishing 1,741. There were 129 horses seized in Tipperary and 122 of them had to be put down. I have it from one constituent who works in animal rescue – and have many cases of this – who had to pay €1,000 to treat a horse after being seized. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is now insisting that the horse be returned to the owner because he has produced a [horse] passport. The issue of sulky racing and the abuse of animals and horses in Tipperary, and other areas, is appalling. Last Sunday alone the county was overrun with gangs. The gardaí were trying to keep up with them on roads that are unsafe—–

Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle) To which promised legislation is the Deputy referring?

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) The Horse and Greyhound Racing Act. This is a crazy situation of cruelty and the frightening intimidation of people. When animal rescuers are trying to do voluntary work they are not being supported. The Department won’t stand up to these gangs. Imagine insisting to let a sick horse be returned to the people who abused him.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle) Will there be any amendments to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act?

Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael) I am advised that there are no amendments proposed to that legislation.



Statement by Mattie McGrath TD
28th June 2017

“In just four years 599 out of the 765 horses seized in Tipperary had to be put down,” Mattie McGrath
June 29, 2017 Mattie McGrath Local Issues, Press 0

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to immediately investigate why the total number of horses seized in the state from 2013-2016 reached an extraordinary 14, 454 with 12,088 of the animals having to be euthanised due to severe ill-treatment. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Department of Agriculture made available statistics on the numbers of horses seized county by county during four year period:

“I raised this matter with the Taoiseach today principally due to the clear animal welfare violations that are occurring in Tipperary with regard to sulky racing and the maltreatment of horses by irresponsible owners.

I was shocked to see that of the 129 horses seized in Tipperary in 2016 alone, only 3 were reclaimed by their owners while just 4 were re-homed. The other 122 horses were put down by the department.

It is obvious to anyone who cares to see that the problem is particularly challenging and that it is not being adequately addressed.

Of the 31 Local Authorities surveyed, Tipperary had the fifth highest number of euthanised horses in 2016, exceeded only by Dublin, Kildare and Limerick.

In fact, only 277 of the 2125 horses that were seized by all Local Authorities last year were re-homed.

The fact however that almost 15 thousand horses had to be seized by local Authorities in such a short space of time clearly points to an almost industrial scale problem.

That situation is not being helped by the willingness of the department to return distressed and injured horses to their owners once an animal passport is produced.

The Minister must explain what he is going to do to tackle this very specific problem and in particular how he is going to address the apparent immunity that some groups have when it comes to issues of animal welfare,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


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