Dáil Éireann - Volume 616 - 07 March, 2006
Written Answers. - Animal Welfare.
Mr. Naughten Mr. Naughten
436. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if she is satisfied with the number of full-time animal welfare inspectors; her plans to provide additional funding to the ISPCA; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9422/06]
Mary Coughlan Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan:My Department has certain statutory responsibility for the welfare and protection of  farmed animals. The legislation governing this is the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes Act 1984 and the European Community (Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes) Regulations 2000. In addition there is specific legislation on pigs, calves and laying hens.
Cases which come to notice are dealt with, generally, by officers based in my Department’s district veterinary offices. These officers deal with the implementation of animal welfare legislation as well as having responsibilities in a wide number of other areas related to animal health and disease control. Funding is available to deal with emergency care, feeding, transport of welfare compromised farm animals. I am satisfied that the resources available within my Department are sufficient to deal with such cases.
In 2004 the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council, FAWAC, developed an early warning intervention system, EWS, for animal welfare cases involving my Department, Irish Farmers Association and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals. The objective of the system is to provide a framework within which farm animal welfare problems can be identified before they become critical or overwhelming. The new system allows for concerned individuals to approach their local IFA representatives, their local ISPCA or my Department in the knowledge that the matter will thereafter be dealt with in the most effective, timely and sensitive manner.
In addition to the foregoing, my Department makes ex gratia payments annually to organisations, including the ISPCA, involved in the direct delivery of animal care and welfare services to assist in their ongoing work. To date we have provided a total of €5.97 million to such bodies, some €1.2 million of which was paid to 86 organisations in December last to assist them during 2006. A provision of €1.1 million for this purpose is included in my Department’s Estimates for 2006 and applications will be invited later this year for payment in respect of 2007.
The main statutes governing cruelty to animals in this country are the Protection of Animals Acts 1911 and 1965. Responsibility for pursuing complaints under that legislation rests with An Garda Síochána who may, on receipt of a complaint, investigate and bring a prosecution against any person alleged to have committed an act of cruelty against an animal. Officers of my Department are regularly involved in assisting gardaí in such cases.
Dáil Éireann 616 Written Answers. Animal Welfare.