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Public advised not to feed horses and donkeys without the owner’s permission

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is urging members of the public not to feed horses and donkeys without the owner’s permission.

Many of us are enjoying walks along boreens and village roads this summer and will likely get the opportunity to see horses and donkeys up close. The Department is urging people, however, not to feed these animals without the owner’s permission. While it may be well-intentioned, the feeding of bread, food scraps, fruit or vegetables to horses or donkeys may cause severe illness, choking or death. What may seem like a treat could be potentially fatal for the animals.  Additionally, the horses and donkeys may be put at risk of developing laminitis (a painful swelling of the feet) or suffering colic (a condition which can be serious and even fatal).


The public are asked to be mindful that feeding grass cuttings or garden waste to equines can also be dangerous. Chemicals applied to lawns may be harmful if eaten, while plants mixed with grass cuttings may be poisonous to horses and donkeys if ingested.


And remember - don’t open farm gates, or enter fields in which animals are kept, without the owner’s permission.