Responsibilities of Donkey Owners

If you have recently acquired a donkey you need to know that you have a few duties with respect to the law.

These duties are not onerous and the legislation around them is aimed at improving and protecting the health and welfare of all equine species, donkeys, horses, ponies and mules.

They apply to all owners irrespective of whether they own 1 pet animal, or large numbers, for animals in commercial premises, holiday centres or sporting venues etc.

As it stands, the current legislation applies to all horses, donkeys, ponies and mules born after July 1st. 2009.

Here we summarise what is expected of all owners of equines.

1. Registration of Equine premises in Ireland

The purpose of registering your premises is simply to ensure that the Department of Agriculture knows the whereabouts of all equines, so that is can alert owners quickly in the event of a contagious disease outbreak. This provides for the implementation of containment and control measures, that is contact tracing, as quickly as possible. This applies to all premises where equines are kept, irrespective of size, ownership, or leasing. The ‘Keeper’ or carer is not necessarily the owner but holds the animal Passport. Registration of Equine Premises is free of any charge and the form is available for download from the Dept. of Agriculture website. It can also be done by telephoning the local Departmental office –details for your area  are at

2. Animal Identification

Animals must be identifiable by passport. To this effect you should contact your vet. S/he will bring a chart for recording the donkey’s markings and other vital statistics. They will inject a microchip and will attach the microchip bar code to the marking sheet. The vet may send these details to the registering authority by e mail. The keeper or owner pays the veterinary fee. All foals, horses and donkeys must be registered by December of the year of birth or within 12 months of age at the latest.

3. Obtain the Passport

Send the marking sheet along with the registration fee –  €25 (or, if Northern Ireland /  UK £23) to:*

Registrations Unit Horse Sport Ireland
Beech House, Millennium Park,
Osberstown, Naas,
Co. Kildare.

Your passport will be returned to you bearing a unique equine life number (UELN) which holds for their lifetime. You will be the proud owner of a respected Donkey Register Passport.

*There may be some changes when Britain leaves the European Union.

The Government website provided a wealth on information on all matters equine and you can find more information online at and