The Problem

Keeping horses nowadays does require a little more organisation than perhaps it may have in days gone by.
Various regulations must be adhered to if we are to ensure our horses’ health and welfare. One such requirement is the correct disposal of the muck heap.

Horses are now classified as agricultural animals, and so come under the control of the Department of Agriculture. As such we as horse owners are obliged to conform to the principles of Good farming Practice (EC Council Regulations 1257/99 and 1259/99). This means that we must “Ensure that storage and handling facilities for organic material are adequate”, and that we must “Protect watercourses from effluent”, and “Plan operations to protect the environment and avoid pollution”. [Department of Agriculture Food and Rural Development]

In Addition to this we are bound by Local Council regulation under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act, 1977 and its subsequent amendments, and also local byelaws.

Added to this is the fact that spreading raw horse manure on paddocks recycles weeds such as docks and may lead to an increase in these weeds. Intestinal parasites may continue to survive in muckheaps in cyst, larval or egg form and if spread direct from a muckheap could add to the worm burden of the pasture.

In short we have more than one group of officials showing an interest in how we manage our horses, and in particular how we safely dispose of their manure.