Animal abuse and cruelty at Smithfield Horse Market in Dublin
Should Smithfield horse market stay open?
There are few places in the world where animal cruelty continues on a regular basis. That makes the unspeakable treatment of ponies at the Smithfield Horse Market in Dublin, Ireland on the first Sunday of every month even more unbelievable.
If your're not familiar with the market and its background then please read the hub Smithfield Horse Market for more information on this.
I was at the market for two to three hours on Sunday March 7 and witnessed the most appalling cases of animal abuse that I've ever seen. The following is a shocking list of just some examples of cruelty that I saw during a very short time at the market. Bear in mind this same market happens every month and can last from 5am until midday.
- Ponies rearing and bucking while tied by their necks with strong rope to lampposts
- A pony being hanged because it spooked and fell while tied to a lamppost with rope that was too short
- A thug stretching a pony's hind leg behind to try to remove a loose shoe and then FOOTBALL KICKING the pony in stomach at full force because it wouldn't keep its leg still. The youth then hit the pony repeatedly in the stomach with metal pliers
- Severely underweight ponies
- Ponies being yanked hard in the mouth as they were dragged around the market
- A terrified Shire horse rearing and kicking for over five minutes in the centre of the market
- Dozens of ponies and horses being struck with thick canes to make them walk
- Dozens of ponies and horses spooking, kicking, biting, spinning and rearing
Now, I am not the first person to notice this cruelty and I certainly won't be the last. There is currently a petittion online calling for the marlet to be closed. The local authority, Dublin City Council, and the Dublin Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) have called for the market to be closed.
However, people calling for the market to be closed are as arrogant, self-righteous and utterly misguided as the animal abusers themselves. Yes Dublin City Council and the DSPCA - and whichever fruitcake started an online petittion - I'm talking to you.
What others thought that day
- Smithfield Horse Market & Fair
Smithfield Horse Market & Fair
- Well...this is different.: An Assortment of Things
It was disgusting and fascinating at the same time. I'm pretty sure we almost got trampled by a couple horses.
- Sil Eile: Smithfield Horse Market
Today I went not just to photograph the beautiful animals but also their owners who I think have quite distinctive features
- Dublin horse market 2010 - Barry Delaney blog
Today was the annual Dublin horse market, naturally held in Smithfield.
There were around 300 different ponies and horses at the market. There were at least another 300 buyers and sellers - not to mention photographers and tourists who visited the event. This is a unique Irish tradition in a country of horse lovers.
Many of the ponies were beautiful equines that would make perfect companions and riding horses. Many, were well groomed, fit and healthy. For every poorly treated pony I estimate that there were nine reasonably well-looked after and cared for animals.
And further more, I make the estimate that the poor treatment accounted for less than five percent of what happened that day.
Anybody who is making sweeping claims to close the market has not balanced into their view the immense enjoyment that these animals bring to the deprived lives of hundreds of children and teenagers who use the market. They've not thought about the cherished family pet that the ponies become. And more importantly, they've not realised that by forcing the market underground they will be taking it away from a very public and well policed area of the city where trading can be watched by officials.
Now, I'm going to get on my political soapbox. I suggest that the market remains open - but changes are made to the way that the market is run. These are as follows:
- An independent group of traders and one council official is set up to represent the interests of those who use the market.
- Dublin City Council allocates part of its budget for horse care and riding lessons for the ''pony kids'' who use the market.
- CCTV is installed in the market area and the Garda arrest anybody they see committing overt cruelty to an animal such as violently punching, kicking or striking.
That is my review of what I saw at the market. There is currently no resolution to solving promlems associated with the market. The city council has tried to ban the market but that hasn't worked. One might suggest that in its quest to be a politically correct part of Europe, the city council has forgotten ordinary Dubliners who make it such a special place - but that's another matter entirely.
What's clear is that there's currently a stale-mate (and again, if you're not familiar with this please read my other hub on Smithfield Horse Market) where the council wants to move the market - possibly because it doesn't fit their redevelopment of Smithfield as an upmarket area - and the traders who have a legal right to use the area.
I hope that what I've written here and earlier can go some way into finding a way forward for the animals and their owners. Please feel free to leave your views below.
More Smithfield and gypsy horse hubs
- PICTURE GALLEY: Smithfield horse market in Dublin, Ireland
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