A crisis upon us?

HAYLEY WILD, an instructor at Saddleworth and District Pony Club, discusses what we should be doing to prevent horses from suffering…


LAST YEAR equine welfare charities warned of a horse crisis, with around 6,000 horses at risk of neglect and unnecessary suffering.

Hot on the heels of the horsemeat scandal, World Horse Welfare has just announced that figure has risen to 7,000 and fear the situation is nearing such a critical point that they are releasing a television campaign to raise awareness.

Horses suffer silently when things go wrong. The recession and economic downturn has lowered their value and irresponsible breeding has increased the number to a level where supply has far outstretched demand.

Changing weather patterns have brought the UK longer harsher winters and wetter summers which means lower quality and more expensive feed. But owning a live animal means they have to be fed whatever the weather and at all costs.

As owners we take responsibility for a horse, we make a huge commitment to ensure their health and wellbeing, make decisions for them and ultimately make an unspoken promise to take care of them.  However the significant rise in rescue cases and recent publicity tells a glaring story of irresponsibility.

RECOVERING: The pony is being cared for
RECOVERING: The pony is being cared for

Cases are rising all over the UK, one of which was recently shared with me and local to our area but thankfully has a happy ending. This pony was in a truly appalling condition for which there is no excuse; he was starving to death.  He is thankfully now being looked after by caring, experienced person.

There are many organisations working tirelessly for better equine welfare standards and have experienced people who are willing to offer help and advice to owners who may be struggling. Neglect and or ignorance aren’t reasons not to get help.

We have enforceable laws in this country to protect horses and other animals.  We also have a collective moral obligation to protect that which cannot protect itself. But perhaps the real challenge is not to become just a passer-by.

Worried about a horse? Contact World Horse Welfare on: 08000 480180.

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