Data concerning the numbers, locations and types of donkeys being officially registered (passported) in Ireland (32 counties) via horse passport issuing organisations were gathered. The numbers of agricultural area aid scheme (Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC)) applicants registering passported donkeys (as compared with horses) as livestock units (LUs), the numbers of donkeys they registered and the value of payments that thus accrued to the applicants are also reported for each of 26 counties for the years 2012 to 2014 inclusive. Equids have not been eligible for equivalent agricultural schemes in the six counties of Northern Ireland. Horse Sport Ireland registration data shows that two-thirds of almost 8000 donkey passport applicants over a 10-year period came from counties Galway and Mayo and that only one-third of donkeys registered were male. As per ANC figures reported here for 2014, there were over 2500 donkeys registered as LUs on ANC, at a payment value to their keepers (in the 26 counties) of almost €1.6M. Future iterations of the ANC scheme are currently under review with regard to limiting donkey eligibility criteria, for example, to females and neutered males. The future monetary value of (some) donkeys could be adversely affected by restrictions in eligibility and by the uncertainty engendered by the prospect of change with the potential for unintended consequences.
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Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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