International equine charity The Horse Trust recently held a training course in County Cork, Ireland, for veterinary inspectors and other staff involved in implementing the Control of Horses Act (1996).

Ireland has the most dense horse population in Europe and the impact of the recession has dramatically increased the number of neglected and abandoned horses. As a result, the horse pounds (similar to horse rescues and shelters in the United States) now see more and more horses with welfare problems.

The course was organized in conjunction with the Cork County Local Authority and the Department for Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM). Eighteen people attended the course including veterinary inspectors from the DAFM and local authorities, staff from the horse pound that collect and care for horses seized under the Act, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the private veterinary practitioners that attend the pound.

Liane Preshaw, welfare development manager at The Horse Trust, said, "We were approached about putting on the training at a horse welfare conference organized by the Irish Horse Welfare Trust last year. The recession has had a big impact on horse welfare standards in Ireland and it is imperative that people involved with enforcement of the Act can accurately assess the welfare state of seized horses and provide appropriate care for horses experiencing poor welfare.

"The training was provided free of charge by The Horse Trust as we feel it important that these agencies have access to equine welfare training, which may otherwise be unavailable to them due to funding constraints," she added.