Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council

In 2002, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries established the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC). The Council is made up of representatives of animal welfare organisations, farming bodies, veterinary representative bodies and Government Departments – North and South.

The Early Warning/Intervention System for Animal Welfare Cases in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Irish Farmers’ Association and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals provides a framework within which problems can be dealt with before they become critical or overwhelming. This in turn facilitates timely, effective and sensitive intervention or the provision of assistance by, as appropriate, public agencies, neighbours, farming bodies and welfare groups.

Raising Concerns

The system allows for concerned individuals to approach their local IFA representatives, their local SPCA or indeed the Department in the knowledge that their welfare concerns will thereafter be dealt with in the most effective, timely and sensitive manner. This can only be to the benefit of the animals themselves and the persons concerned. However, where circumstances so warrant, it is recognised that prosecutions may be taken by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.The role of the Garda Síochána under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 is also acknowledged.

In 2014 FAWAC produced a booklet entitled Animal Welfare Guidelines for Horses at Gatherings and Sales. These guidelines have been produced so as to assist all those who are responsible for ensuring the welfare of horses in the areas of fairs, marts and sales.

FAWAC has already produced nine other Animal Welfare Guidelines booklets for Beef, Sheep, Dairy, Equines, Pigs, Poultry, Laying Hens, Managing Acutely Injured Livestock On- Farm and advising best practice for the Welfare of Animals during Transport. Similar guidelines in relation to the On Farm Euthanasia of Pigs is nearing completion and should be published in Spring 2016.

Ex-Gratia Funding to Animal Welfare Bodies

Since the mid 1990’s the Department has provided ex-gratia payments to animal welfare bodies throught the country to assist them in their work in delivering animal care and welfare. Each year an advertisement in the national press, invites applications from animal welfare bodies who wish to be considered for ex-gratia funding to assist their work in caring for animals. In addition, the Department emails application forms to previous recipients of funding and to persons/bodies working in animal care who may have contacted the Department during the course of the year and expressed an interest in being considered for grant assistance.

Applicants are required to submit supporting documentation, including detailed financial accounts. Depending on the size of the organisation, these can be statements of income and expenditure for a 12 month period, certified or audited accounts. Organisations must also submit an up to date tax clearance certificate and/or a registered charity number. Applicants may also be subject to an inspection by the Department’s Veterinary Inspectorate.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Animal Health and Welfare (SACAHW) was established in 2002 by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. The principal function of the Committee is to provide the Minister with advice from a scientific perspective on issues where independent expert opinion is warranted.


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