Minister McConalogue announces date of Ireland’s First Equine Census
- 29 November 2021, 15:17
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Charlie McConalogue T.D., has confirmed the date of the first annual equine census as Tuesday 30th November 2021.
Any person who keeps any equine, which include horses, ponies, donkeys, asses or mules overnight on 30th November 2021 will be required to submit a completed census return to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by Friday 17th December 2021.
Keepers will be required to record the total number of equines present on their holding on census night. 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.
Minister McConalogue, who initially announced the census in August, re-iterated the importance of the census process, stating that “The census will provide important information in the event of an equine disease outbreak, in addressing public health concerns and in dealing with lost, straying or stolen horses”. The undertaking of this inaugural equine census is one of the Department’s listed priorities for 2021 and forms part of a series of measures the Minister proposes to initiate to support the welfare of equidae.
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. It is expected that the formal linking of equines to their keepers will increase compliance with equine legislation which places responsibility on the keeper for ensuring the health and welfare of all animals in his/her care.
Minister McConalogue thanked equine keepers for the feedback communicated to his Department following his initial announcement of the equine census in August. In this regard, he announced that, while the Department’s preferred mechanism for submission of census data remains online via agfood.ie paper returns will now also be accepted for census returns. Furthermore, a bulk upload facility has also been developed in agfood.ie to facilitate keepers keeping large numbers of equines.
The Department has written to keepers of all registered equine premises advising them of the census date and providing guidance to online submission of their information. These should be received by keepers by Monday 29th November. Paper census forms are included for use by those who wish to return data in this form.
Minister McConalogue encourages all keepers to engage with the census process and to submit a census form to his Department. He assures them that officials in his Department are available to assist anyone experiencing difficulties in completing the online or paper forms. Anyone seeking assistance should contact the Department’s AIM Division by phone at 01–5058881 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- To register with agfood.ie, the applicant keeper must provide his/her date of birth, email address and phone number to complete the registration process. 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.
- Anyone keeping any equines on a premises that is not registered with the Department 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
- 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