Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed the date of Ireland’s first equine census as Tuesday 30 November 2021.

Any person who keeps any equine, which include horses, ponies, donkeys, asses or mules, overnight on 30 November 2021 will be required to submit a completed census with the total number of equines present on their holding that night.

The form must be returned to the Department of Agriculture by Friday 17 December 2021.

The unique equine life number (UELN), also known as the passport number, of each equine that has been identified with an identification document will also be required, as will the approximate date on which each animal moved to the premises.

The census will provide important information in the event of an equine disease outbreak, in addressing public health concerns and in dealing with lost, straying or stolen horses, Minister McConalogue said.

Inaugural census

"The undertaking of this inaugural equine census is one of the Department’s listed priorities for 2021 and forms part of a series of measures the Minister proposes to initiate to support the welfare of equidae," said the Minister.

A profile of all equines present on a holding on that date will be created on the Department’s animal identification and movement (AIM) system, which houses the central equine database.

It is expected that the formal linking of equines to their keepers will increase compliance with equine legislation, which places responsibility on the keeper for ensuring the health and welfare of all animals in his or her care.

Paper returns

The Minister announced that paper returns will now also be accepted for census returns, even though the Department’s preferred mechanism for submission of census data remains online via

A bulk upload facility has also been developed on to facilitate keepers keeping large numbers of equines.

According to the Department, all registered equine premises should have received information advising them of the census date and providing guidance to online submission of their information by Monday 29 November.

Paper census forms are included for use by those who wish to return data in this form.


Anyone seeking assistance in completing the online or paper forms should contact the Department’s AIM division by phone at 01-505 8881 or by email to