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Animal Welfare In Focus

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Dublin SPCA CEO Brian Gillen at the opening of the charity's new Vet Centre

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney today announced that the Animal Health and Welfare Bill has been passed by both houses of the Oireachtas, bringing the first major update to Ireland's animal welfare legislation in over 100 years. The legislation will be signed into law by the President in the coming days.

Welcoming the passage of the Bill through the Oireachtas, Minister Coveney said that the bill represents a significant step forward in the area of animal health and welfare law. It is a major piece of legislation, containing seventy eight sections, updating and replacing a wide range of existing legislation, some of which are over a century old.

The Minister said:

It should be remembered that this Bill will apply across the board, both to rural and urban areas and to all animals whether they be commercial, domestic or other. Existing lawful activity is not interfered with but the duty of care owed to animals is made much clearer. Therefore I have sought a balance between the differing demands being made upon me during the drafting of the Bill.

Once the Bill has been signed by the President, it will be published as an Act and commenced into law. Following this, there will be a number of specific tasks, including a public consultation on the issue of microchipping of dogs.

Read the full press release here. spoke to Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney about the legislation and examined it through the eyes of a major Irish animal welfare charity - the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA).

CEO of the DSPCA, Brian Gillen, said of the legislation:

The introduction of modern Animal Welfare legislation will reduce the unnecessary suffering on animals as authorities now have the backing of appropriate legislation. This is particularly important with regard to trafficking of animals which remains a significant issue in Ireland.

Minister Coveney called the Act:

...a significant step forward in the area of animal health and welfare law.

It will lead to a consolidation and modernisation of much of the primary legislation in this area, some of which is over a hundred years old.

Read the full text of the Act here.