Thursday, January 23, 2020
Innovation For Rescuing Ill-fated Horses
Solution letter I sent to Kilkenny council's Environment Deprtment today. Better again, we have found a home for the lot and I wrote to tell them that too. I hope to God they let them be re-homed now and avoid slaughter.
There have been several senior and central people trying to contact your department about the horses you are seizing and are concerned for their welfare and future.
I have come up with a solution for your consideration. My idea is to try a pilot project that gets the animals out of the middle of the situation between the travellers and the ACS - animal and carcass collection service. The ACS are presently the only heavy enough, violent enough and anonymous enough group to seize traveller horses as everyone else is too afraid. Instead, we can treat the travellers with respect and propose that the horses are going to be seized anyway, as they are neglected in terms of acceptable standards of care but they will be paid a nominal figure for them.
At the moment the ACS are being paid the 950 per horse and that is incentivising the seizure of horses and their disposal as the policy is not to impound them but get rid of them. The travellers know this and it has led to extreme violence and it is not unjustified when they know the horses are just going to be shot. The travellers don't need to be told the exact amount the council pays per horse.
A new approach would be where the owner gets €200 for their horse (God knows, every other animal abusing operation gets compensated when they have to shut down through non compliance) and the rest goes to the people who are rehoming, be they charity or individual, to help with their feed and care.
This payment would be made only on condition that the travellers agree (and sign an agreement) that they are passing ownership and will not seek out any contact or intimidation or snatching of horses. If there is even a fear of this down the line, all the horses will be seized again and put down at once and criminal proceedings be brought against the original traveller community - the owners will be held responsible and this will motivate them to manage each other's behaviour.
It is a revolutionary pilot scheme (although I say so myself) that takes the ACS out of the seat of power and the incentive to kill stray and traveller horses and includes the travellers in making a positive change, where their horse trade is recognised. If it works, the change can be attached to a training, feeding and care education which travellers will have to, in future, have participated in, to keep animals. It is like how we have to have a new license to tow horses safely in a trailer, even to a riding club event. We can stipulate that it is a new policy to protect both the community, their business, the animals and improve road safety as so many are getting hit out on the ring road.
This first 40 horses will count as a sort of amnesty and there's no commitment on the part of the council to pay for other or future neglected animals of course. What do you think?!
If the travellers agree to relinquishing ownership of their horses, then we have several people and charities who can take a few each and would make far better use of the remainder of that payment, (€750) in rehoming and rehabilitating them. As your only other option at the moment is killing them, please do consider the suggestion.
It could also have a longer beneficial impact as I have outlined, defusing the violence and fear between gardai, ACS, travellers and proper re-homers and rescue routes. Fairness could win out and even some integration and education.
Many thanks, I would be happy to help facilitate. Please let me know the timeline for meeting the travellers, the moving of the horses and what you would like me to do if anything.