The national animal welfare conference

Dena O'Malley with her two rescued dogs, Liam and Ciaran

The second National Animal Welfare Conference, organised by Minister Simon Coveney, was held on Friday 12th June at Farmleigh. This was a chance for 150 of the stakeholders in animal welfare in Ireland to meet and discuss pertinent issues.

Stakeholders include local authority and dept of agriculture vets and other employees, ISPCA, DSPCA, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, many smaller animal rescue groups from around the country, Kennel Club and private vets. The meeting was chaired by journalist Suzanne Campbell.

Dena O’Malley, wife of Kevin the new USA ambassador, is an animal welfare enthusiast and she hosted an evening animal welfare reception at her residence in Phoenix Park the evening before the conference. Delegates appreciated her hospitality, as well as the fact that the important topic of animal welfare is being given an extra boost by the support at this level.

The comprehensive agenda included:

For companion animals

  • An update on implementation of new Animal Health and Welfare Act that came into force last year
  • An update on the upcoming compulsory microchipping of dogs, with announcement of €100K to spend on awareness campaign
  • An update on puppy farms, with random, unannounced inspections now taking place: 20 of Ireland’s 80 registered breeders have been inspected, 60 still to go
  • Discussion of feral cats – an ongoing issue
  • Discussion on the health of pedigree dogs – an ongoing issue

For equines

  • Minister Coveney said “Ireland is a horse mad country and as such, it should be a world leader on animal welfare in this area”.
  • An update on the consequences of the surplus of horses in the post-Celtic Tiger era
  • An update on donkey welfare issues
  • A briefing on a subsidised castration scheme in the midlands
  • A briefing on the Clondalkin Equine Project which aims to bring structure and order to urban youths on horseback

A full stream of the events at the conference can be watched on the Pete the Vet Facebook page.

We had a fairly lengthy discussion about this conference on the Pat Kenny Show which you can listen to below. As usual I also answered some questions from listeners, including one about a couple expecting a baby and wondering how their Staffordshire Bull Terrier will deal with the new arrival.

Listen to the podcast:

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