SECTION: NATIONAL NEWS
LENGTH: 191 words
ANIMAL welfare officers now have to wear stab-proof vests to protect themselves from hostile crowds as they try to rescue animals at the unsupervised Smithfield Horse Fair.
Dublin City Council stopped managing the fair on health and safety grounds three years ago, but the event still takes place on the first Sunday of every month. Inspectors from the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have to deal with unscrupulous horse traders and distressed animals who are brought into the city centre to be sold for as little as 100.
DSPCA Inspector Robert Kenny predicted that it was only a matter of time before someone was killed or seriously injured at the fair or before a serious accident involving an animal took place in what has now become a regenerated city area.
“We wear stab-proof vests because of the amount of weapons some people carry at the fair.
“If we say anything to someone at the market we could be surrounded by a hostile crowd very quickly,” he said.
Although Smithfield has been used as a horse market for over 30 years, the DSPCA inspectors are opposed to the event as it is uncontrolled.