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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Horse via Shutterstock
# Horses
Here's what's being done about people abandoning 'useless' foals
The DSPCA has started a trial where it will castrate a stallion and implant a microchip for €100.

SOME HORSE OWNERS are abandoning foals because they think they are ‘useless’ – but now the DSPCA is trying to curb this behaviour.

It hopes that its new ‘snip n chip’ programme will help to curb the population of horses, and in turn have an impact on the numbers of lost and abandoned horses in the greater Dublin area.

The trial scheme is organised in cooperation with UCD School of Veterinary Medicine and the support of Horse Sport Ireland.

Its aim is to castrate and microchip 100 stallions in the greater Dublin area on a subsidised basis.

The initiative is part-funded by the Department of Agriculture, and came about after comments made by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD at the Animal Welfare Conference in May of this year .

A spokesperson for the DSPCA said:

The problem in Ireland generally is that there is no breeding control of the standard horses. If people have a mare that gets pregnant and they have a foal, if the foal is a stallion they usually dump it because it is not worth anything.

She said that not every horse owner does this, and that “there are a lot of people out there who do genuinely care and don’t care if [the foals] are male or female”.

What the Snip n’ Chip scheme does

Snip n’ Chip will cost the horse owner €100, which covers the cost of implanting the microchip, creating a horse passport, and registering the owner’s details on the Horse Sport Ireland database. The animal will also be castrated.

The idea is to stop the unwanted birth of horses, and therefore curb the abandonment of foals. The DSPCA also hopes that the scheme will “get some quality back into the breeding that goes on with horses”.

“A lot of horse are very inbred and are having genetic problems and congenital problems,” said the spokesperson. These animals might then breed, which leads to further problems.

“Very few people will have a male foal and have it gelded and keep it as a pet.”

When a horse owner contacts the DSPCA, the association goes to the premises to inspect the animal. If they are suitable, the animal is then booked for the procedure.

They are taken away for no more than 48 hours to the UCD Veterinary Hospital where they undergo the procedure under full anaesthetic and are kept overnight and cared for.

They are then returned to the owner microchipped and with paperwork and their horse passport.

“We’re really trying to encourage responsible horse ownership and pet ownership,” said the spokesperson.

To find out more information and to register for this service, visit

Read: DSPCA calls on DoneDeal to stop selling animals after investigation into online trading>

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