They are exported to the continent for human consumption.
MORE THAN 7,740 horses in Ireland were slaughtered for meat last year, with 64,074 horses slaughtered since 2012.
The horses are slaughtered at government-approved abattoirs and are then exported to the continent for human consumption.
The number of horses slaughtered has dropped dramatically since 2012 when 24,362 horses were slaughtered.
2013 saw 10,711 horses slaughtered â€“ a drop of 13,651 on the year previous. The number continued to drop for the next two years â€“ with 7,602 in 2014 and 6,033 in 2015.
However, there was an increase of 1,569 horses slaughtered between 2015 and 2016 bringing the number to 7,618 for 2016.
And there was another increase of 130 in 2017 compared to 2016 â€“ bringing the total number of horses slaughtered last year to 7,748.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed gave the breakdown of the numbers of horses slaughtered since 2012.
The massive drop of 13,651 horses between 2012 and 2013 is largely put down to stricter regulations put around the slaughter of horses for human consumption following the horse meat scandal.
The 2013 horsemeat scandal resulted in meat products being pulled from supermarket shelves across several countries in Europe when it was revealed that horsemeat was in products listed as beef.
The scandal affected meat, frozen food and fast-food companies as consumers lost trust in meat brands.
After the controversy, the Department of Agriculture took over the responsibility of abattoirs previously run by local authorities and the number of plants were reduced.
Prior to 2013 itâ€™s believed that some horses were slaughtered for export for human consumption without having clean passports but new checks were then put in place.
However, an investigation has been launched after it was reported that horsemeat unfit for human consumption entered the food chain.
According to the Sunday Times, the Department of Agriculture has notified the Food Safety Authority that around 30 horses were sold to abattoirs using false paperwork and the suspect meat has been exported to the continent.