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Smithfield Horse market......opposition is growing to this fair.

category dublin | animal rights | opinion/analysis author Thursday October 07, 2010 00:15author by Bernie Wright - Alliance for Animal Rights [ AFAR]author email berniew at esatclear dot ieauthor address AFAR. PO Box 4734. D1 Report this post to the editors

Close Smithfield fair ,the main cause of Dublins horse cruelty.

Smithfield HORSE market in Dublin 7 is held on the first Sunday of every month. It has been held every month for almost 280 years. Last Sunday the scene there was akin to a scene from Mad Max the movie. A tiny foal was abandoned in a sad neglected condition, two punch ups broke out with crowds charging dangerously to get a closer look. A man was spotted carrying a sword and Sulkies and 4-wheeled carts were raced around the roads despite the best efforts by Gardai to stop this. The incidents of two wheeled carts being ridden with distressed horses and at immense speed around the city roads are increasing at an alarming rate.

 Horses are not protected from abuse at the fair or afterwards.
Horses are not protected from abuse at the fair or afterwards.

Horse legislation which says every horse should have a ‘horse passport’ is understandably ignored by Gardai present at Smithfield. They are simply overwhelmed by the mob present, an army would be needed, not a half dozen guards. This Horse control bill legislation is in no way enforced or checked and ‘wannabee cowboy’ kids ride small ponies, kicking them hitting them and pulling them around for their fun. The whole area is reduced to utter madness, besides the self proclaimed ‘cowboys there’ no one wants the filth left after the day which costs the councils thousands of euros to clean up .One horse was bleeding from the nose, obviously in need of Veterinary attention. He didn’t get it. I couldn’t help but think of the horse that sold last year for 8 euros to a young child. The glut of Irish horses now due to the current recession results in thousands of these over-bred neglected animals being abandoned throughout the country. The horses are at the mercy of these people who treat them as inanimate objects and who discard them when the mood takes them. From our perspective these animals are treated like slaves were treated, they deserve freedom from terror and suffering and are entitled to live free of use,pain and hunger with their offspring. Humans need to share this planet with other species…The humans cruelty knows no bounds.

The readily available supply of horses from Smithfield has resulted in cruelty that has been well documented. It happens mainly in the suburbs. Ireland is no place for animals when the bigger picture is investigated. Horses have been set on fire, had their throats slashed, been ridden to death and been found dead with horrific wounds or just plain starvation. A feud resulted in some horses legs being sawn off in Waterford two years ago. These poor innocent animals were found lying in a field with their legs attached by skin.

Smithfield fair is comparable to the Appleby Fair in Cumbria in the Uk. This Fair made headlines in 2007 when one of the horses was drowned in the River Eden – many of the riders seem to regard it as a macho challenge to completely submerge their horse under water. The river, whilst shallow at one side, has a steep ledge about half way across and horses easily lose their footing. All I can say is thankfully there is no river at Smithfield.

Another Fair to gather controversy is the Ballinasloe Fair in Galway, considered Europe’s oldest fair. A newspaper columnist visited this fair in 2005 and related the following story. ‘A man of about 40 swaggered over. He screamed and bullied the young animal, watched by delighted men and youths from both the Travelling and settled community. Another young horse,terrified and out of control, reared in the traces and was viciously beaten.
An old man in a suit systematically hit every horse he came in contact with across the face. "I'm testing them, coaxing them," he said. "You're abusing them," I said, and grabbed his stick. He punched me weakly in the chest.The onlookers jeered me in sexually-charged language, and hit me with the same cattle prod-like sticks they had been using on the horses.The crowd closed in around me, chanting insults and using foul language. At one time I could feel about three cattle prods on my back and another couple being forced between my legs. The jeers became manic.I climbed over the barrier. Directly outside a Garda van was parked, with an officer in the driver's seat. I told him the story. He said he knew the horses were being abused.

Smithfield Fair exists due to an ancient piece of 1899 legislation the Dublin Corporation Markets Act. Anyone can buy a horse there and ride them home. Home most likely being an urban estate with no facilities, no prior thought and a place with no food or proper care. Horses can be seen with gangs of kids whipping and beating them and many are ridden terrified through the streets of Dublin when the fair closes. These horses have been found set on fire, starved, mutilated and abandoned on waste ground with some being driven into the canal and drowned just for the fun of it. Pit Bulls, rabbits,and fighting cocks also appear for sale.

Is it not time this ancient right was abolished and this madness ended once and for all? The AFAR are calling on the Irish government to immediately remove this 1899 Act from the Statute books. Contact us if you want to help.

Related Link: http://www.afarireland.org
author by anarchaeologistpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2010 18:45Report this post to the editors

Strangely enough, the Smithfield horse fair only dates to the late '60s. That's the 1960s. There had been a market there from the fifteenth century and Smithfield Plaza (as it's called today) was designed to accommodate it in 1665. However, it was never popular with local residents who have been trying to get it closed down since the 1670s.

The cattle market was removed to the North Circular Road in 1863. However, although generally assumed otherwise, the market continued at Smithfield for the sale of milch cows, store cattle and pigs until the foot and mouth outbreak of 1883, when the sale of cattle was forbidden outside of the new market, to meet the disease control requirements of the Privy Council.

Their refusal to renew the licence at Smithfield because of unsanitary conditions led to a protest meeting on 28 May 1883 resulting in a petition to the Corporation, which in turn referred the matter to the Privy Council, the body which effectively had forced the market’s closure. The Lord Lieutenant eventually informed a deputation that ‘the lack of paving at Smithfield inhibited disinfection… and the existence of a hay and straw market… would result in various animal diseases being carried home on farmers’ carts from an infected market’. It would appear that this problem was rectified within the next 20 years and in 1899, 1912 and again in 1934 attempts were made by the Corporation to transfer the sale of pigs from the Phoenix Street corner to the North Circular Road and to confine business at Smithfield to the weekly sale of hay and straw.

The horse fair has received support in the past from those nostalgic for the auld Dubbalin, the pot of coddle, Lugs Brannigan and the way he might whack ya. Strangely enough though for years the Corpo were putting it about that they couldn't close down the horse fair because it had a medieval charter which couldn't easily be extinguished. The problem is of course if you close it down, it'll only go somewhere else.

author by Catladypublication date Mon Oct 18, 2010 01:57Report this post to the editors

I was brought to the Ballinasloe fair as a kid. I left screaming crying due to the abuse I saw there. I was about 10 at the time. I saw an auld lad wallop a horse with a huge stick, straight on his hocks. the horse screamed and reared..... the auld lad said he was "testing" him. My mother had to pull me away..... I haven't been back since. I'd get beaten up 'cos I couldnt stand by watching that shit, and I couldn't save them either. If your purebred dog goes missing, Ballinasloe fair is a good place to go looking for him too. They turn up there every year. From Dublin, from everywhere. Maybe I'll go next year and just take pictures......

author by Close it Down for Goodpublication date Mon Mar 07, 2011 18:38Report this post to the editors

This time it's a Shooting with a homemade shotgun. Other men attacked others with sticks, tyre irons and other weapons. (Other weapons according to the video in the link is slash-hooks)
Oh and People and Horses were stampeding.

Man held over Smithfield gun attack

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0306/smithfield.html
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