The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Charlie McConalogue T.D. has confirmed that Ireland’s second annual equine census took place on 30 November 2022. Census forms were posted to some 29,000 registered premises across the country earlier this week.
Any person who kept any equines (which include horses, ponies, donkeys, mules and zebras) overnight on 30 November 2022 is required to submit a completed census return to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by Friday 16 December 2022.
The Minister re-iterated the importance of the census process, stating that, “The census will provide valuable information to the Department particularly in the area of disease prevention but also in addressing public health concerns and in dealing with lost, straying or stolen horses.” He thanked the significant number of keepers who engaged with the 2021 census and encouraged all keepers to engage with the process in 2022.
While paper census returns will be accepted by his Department, Minister McConalogue strongly encouraged keepers to submit their 2022 census information online through the dedicated secure Equine Census portal on agfood.ie, which will accept 2022 data from Thursday 1st December.
He acknowledged that there were some technical issues with the online portal in 2021 but commented that “My Department has taken on board feedback received from keepers and we have worked hard to resolve these issues to ensure that keepers’ experience in 2022 will be much improved.”
He added that, where 2021 data is recorded on his Department’s system, this will be available to keepers to use a base for their 2022 return. This feature will ease the administrative burden of re-entering equine data for animals that are still present on the holding. The online portal also features a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section and a video has been added to the portal to assist keepers with large numbers of equines in notifying their data.
Keepers will be required to record the total number of equines present on their holding on census night. For those equines that ordinarily reside on the premises, the Unique Equine Life Number (UELN), also known as the passport number, of each equine that has been identified with an identification document will also be required, as will the approximate date on which each animal moved to the premises.
Where equines are present on a temporary basis (e.g. for training/competition/breeding purposes), the individual UELNs will not be required and only the total number of such animals present on the night is required.
Minister McConalogue advised that the census is required by the EU Animal Health Law (Regulation (EU) 2016/429), which requires that the Department records the details of the premises where all equines resident in the State are habitually kept. The census is designed to create an initial link between each equine kept in the state on census day and the premises on which it is kept at that time.
A profile of all equines present on a holding on that date will be created on the Department’s Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system, which houses the central equine database. Keepers who do not return a completed census return will not have an equine profile on the Department’s systems and may not be eligible to apply for equine-related Schemes that may be introduced by the Department in the future.
The Minister advised that guidance to online submission of census data has been included with the census forms issued by his Department. Anyone seeking assistance with submitting census data, either on paper or online, should contact the Department’s AIM Division by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 01-5058881.
Notes to the Editor
- To register with agfood.ie, the applicant keeper must provide his/her date of birth, PPSN, email address and phone number. For security reasons, personal log-on details are issued by post and are generally received within 3-4 days after completing the registration process. These should be kept safely as the system cannot be accessed without them.
- For added security, the Department has introduced a 2 factor authentication system for access to the 2022 Equine Census Portal. On their first attempt to access the portal, keepers will be requested to record a mobile telephone number, to which a specific code will be sent each time they logon to the portal into the future. Keepers are asked to ensure that the number provided relates to a phone that they will have access to on an ongoing basis.
- Anyone keeping any equines on a premises that is not registered with DAFM for that purpose commits an offence. Applications to register a premises to keep equines should be made to the applicant’s local DAFM Regional Office. Contact details for the various offices are on the DAFM website at gov.ie - Contact the Department (www.gov.ie)
- Keepers of equines are legally required to ensure that all equines in their care are properly identified with a passport. Failure to do so is an offence. Equine passports are issued by DAFM-approved Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs). A list of approved PIOs is available on the DAFM website at gov.ie - Horses (www.gov.ie)
- This helpful video guide shows how to bulk upload forms to the website How to complete the batch file upload for multiple horses on the equine census 2022 - YouTube