A new “Snip n’ Chip” programme — offering reduced-cost gelding and micro-chipping — has been introduced in Dublin to help tackle the growing horse crisis.

Thousands of horses are being neglected, dumped and in some cases left to starve due to overbreeding.

Dublin SPCA (DSPCA) is running the scheme. Horses will be collected and taken to University College Dublin for the procedure costing €100 (£79), which would usually cost around €250 (£156).

The plan has been in action only for a couple of weeks but a DSPCA spokesman told H&H they had already had some uptake on it.

“We are hoping it will go some way towards alleviating the overpopulation of unwanted horses in Dublin, but it will be a while before we will see the results,” she said.

“Each uncastrated and stray stallion can be responsible for fathering many foals over their lifetimes and this has to stop.”

In Britain, in an attempt to overcome the problem, the British Horse Society (BHS) runs a castration scheme, which has held a number of clinics this year.

“Providing subsidised castrations, micro-chipping and health checks has made such a difference to our work in tackling the UK horse crisis and we look forward to expanding the scheme further in 2015,” said the BHS’ Lee Hackett.

In July the RSPCA joined forces with the police, council and vets to hold an action day in Derbyshire to promote responsible ownership.

For a donation of £20, owners brought horses to have a health check by an specialist equine vet, micro-chipping, a passport application, worming and assistance with future castration.

A spokesman told H&H more days are planned.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (6 November 2014).