For immediate release

Dublin June 16, 2024

The Vegan Society of Ireland (VSI) recognises that all animals are sentient beings with inherent rights and works for the enactment and enforcement of robust legal protections for these rights.

The VSI stands firmly against the systemic exploitation and rights violations of horses in Ireland and across Europe as exposed by the recent RTÉ Investigates report, Making a Killing.  The distressing revelations are indicative of a much deeper issue: the fundamental rights violations inherent in the commodification and use of animals.

The necessary closure of Ireland’s only active horse abattoir, Shannonside Foods, in Straffan, Co Kildare by Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, is a commendable action in response to these rights infringements even if it is not motivated by compassion for the suffering of these animals.  However, this incident must serve as an impetus for profound and lasting change in our treatment of all animals and in particular of horses in Ireland.

The investigation reveals that the systemic injustices inflicted upon horses are a direct consequence of their objectification and commodification by the profit-driven horse racing industry. This industry disregards the inherent rights and individuality of horses, treating them as mere commodities rather than sentient beings with their own rights to life and freedom.

The Vegan Society of Ireland calls for:

  • Call for the immediate abolition of the Irish Government’s subsidy of €76 million to the horse racing industry, which inherently exploits horses for profit.
  • Demand the termination of all live export and import of horses to or from Ireland and within the EU, recognizing the right of horses to live without undue stress and displacement.
  • Advocate for legislation making the production or sale of horse meat illegal in Ireland and the EU, affirming the right of horses to live free from slaughter.
  • Propose a collaborative effort within the European Union and beyond to establish stringent traceability systems that respect animal rights. This system should ensure that anyone who cares for a horse has the necessary facilities and resources, recognizing the right of horses to adequate care.
  • Call for the ending of all horse racing programmes on Irish National media, challenging the media’s role in promoting industries that exploit horses.
  • Recognizing the rights of horses to live out their lives free from human interference, we call for legislation making the sale of horses in Ireland illegal.

We express our solidarity with My Lovely Horse Rescue and all those who have voiced their opposition to these grave injustices. The time has come for our society to evolve from exploitation to a compassionate coexistence that honours the rights of all living beings.

We invite everyone to reject the notion that animal use is justifiable and join us in working for a future where the rights of all animals are recognized and protected.

For more information or to support our cause, please visit

Vegan Society of Ireland

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