Significance of Horses: Control Legislation and Impact on Irish Travellers

in Society & Animals
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Abstract

This paper documents the significance of horses to Irish Travellers, on several fronts, to demonstrate their unusual relationship with horses as companion animals and as work animals in a non-farm context. Their multiple attachments and engagement are analyzed in the context of the literature in human–nonhuman animal relations and animal geographies, which helps illuminate the ways in which horses have shaped Traveller geographies and identities, and how these associations have become politicized. The 1996 Control of Horses Act has led to greater restrictions on the keeping of horses; the impact of the loss of this animal from Traveller daily life is discussed. This research also helps fill a gap in the literature on horses and urban and rural landscapes in Ireland, which has to date largely excluded Travellers.

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