VIDEO: Horses And Live Export from the UK

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“Firstly I must apologise for the lack of posts… I’ve been in a lot of pain….but hope to get posting more news stories again soon; so please bear with me!” (MY sincere apologies if some post are a bit disjointed…drugs play havoc with my brain!!) so I hope all myposts will make sense…if the don’t…you know why!!”

“Please email DEFRA now, and tell Lord De Mauley that laws which are not enforced are not worth the paper on which they’re printed (Email already written) just fill in your details to send:- Please also contact your MP (Letter already done) which will pop up after your email to Defra!

On 10th February the BBC’s Inside Out programme revealed the shocking results of World Horse Welfare’s largest ongoing investigation, uncovering evidence that horses and ponies are being exported through Britain’s ports to uncertain fates on the Continent.

Keeping tabs on Live Export of Horses

It will show that an unknown number of horses and ponies are leaving Britain’s shores under the pretence that they are for leisure or sport – but may in fact be sold for slaughter.

We have been investigating the movement of horses into and out of the UK, including reports of possible export for slaughter, for several years and have always passed any information that we have onto the proper authorities at the earliest opportunity.

Unfortunately it has become clear that in many cases, proper preventative action from the authorities and enforcement of the law was simply not taking place despite the information that we were providing, and that horses and ponies were being left very vulnerable to abuse as a result.

Our investigations have found that horses and ponies are leaving our ports without any checks on their welfare or their paperwork. It is impossible to know whether the laws protecting them are being complied with. 

Horses waiting for death!

These movements are not small or insignificant: over just one weekend of monitoring we saw more than 90 horse boxes – a number of which could carry more than 20 equinesleaving and entering the port of Dover.

World Horse Welfare is calling for the legislation meant to protect our most vulnerable horses and ponies from indiscriminate export to be properly enforced as a matter of urgency. We want to help the enforcement agencies to protect horses and ponies, by continuing to provide intelligence and expertise as we have done in the past.


P&O Ferries actually stopped a vehicle carrying horse; after checking the vehicle P&O said the horses were not fit to travel….KUDOS to P&O…without whom the horses could have shipped to slaughter!!

Post from P&O Ferries:Service with a conscience

Can we ship livestock on your vessels?
Yes, we can ship livestock on our Dover-Calais and Irish Sea routes, however animal welfare is an issue that concerns us. Hence on our Dover-Calais route we are only prepared to ship breeding livestock and only if booked via the relevant national associations. These livestock must be transported according to DEFRA requirements and accompanied by the correct DEFRA documentation, clearly showing the animals are being shipped for breeding purposes. A surcharge is applied to livestock movements and they will only be shipped on the European Seaway. Please contact the relevant national association for pricing details.

Can we ship horses on your vessels?
Yes, we can ship horses on all our routes (except Dublin – Liverpool, shipments from Tilbury and freight only shipments from Zeebrugge) under the following conditions.

Horses travelling to France MUST be accompanied by either an Export Licence or an AHA certificate AND an equine passport.  Ponies must also be accompanied by a fitness to travel certificate or Health Certificate Horses and ponies travelling with a final destination to countries other than France MUST in addition be accompanied by a Health Certificate. 

Horses or ponies travelling from France to the UK may travel on their equine passports only.  Horses or ponies starting their journey in any country other than France MUST be accompanied in addition by a Health Certificate.

Health Certificates are ONLY valid for 10 days from the date of vets signature (and can only be signed within 48 hrs of departure).  Horses and ponies may return to the originating country on the same health certificate providing it is within 10 days of the vets signature. (day 1 being the day it was signed)

The information detailed above is for guidance only – The responsibility lies with the owner or agent to comply with British and European statutory regulations.

Further information can be obtained by contacting DEFRA.

Find out more by reading our FAQs (Some of which are below), or take action to help these horses today. Or you can make a donation to help keep our teams on the road.

Please email DEFRA now, and tell Lord De Mauley that laws which are not enforced are not worth the paper on which they’re printed….email link here:-

Email & News Link:


Clamping down on UK’s illegal horse traders

Published on 11 Feb 2014

A year after the horsemeat scandal, Inside Out’s David Whiteley investigates the illegal export of live horses from the UK.

The World Horse Welfare charity told Inside Out that it suspects that horses and ponies are being transported freely across Europe as unscrupulous dealers exploit a legal loophole in equine transit.

Under an agreement between France, Ireland and the UK, sports horses can be moved freely but low-value ponies are not covered by the agreement.

David Whiteley joins the World Horse Welfare’s field team as they watch for horse dealers who they suspect are breaking the lawAs well as concerns over equine welfare, there are fears the horses could be destined for slaughterhouses in Europe, raising fears about food safety and human health. But P&O Ferries refused some lorries due to unevaluated passports…i.e fakes passports!  P&O also refused some lorries because some of the horses were not fit to travel!  BUT IT SHOULDN’T BE UP TO PORTS TO REFUSE UNFIT HORSES….it’s obvious those trying to take the lorries abroad care nothing about the welfare of its cargo!!! Kudos to P& O Ferries!!

The government says it has agreed to tighten the rules on horse exports from May.

“I won’t believe anything until I see or read new legislation! The Government wonders why horse meat is getting into human food, it’s because the passports are not checked or are faked, horses are being stolen from fields during the night! Read some of the snippets below from News posts, it just doesn’t add up to me!” especially the parts where they say ‘ One of 5 horse slaughter plants’, which includes one  ‘Ashgrove Meats in Newcastle West’ that was responsible for contaminated horse meat! Then in another post it says ‘ THE only approved horse-slaughtering house in Northern Ireland has stopped killing horses, the Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has revealed.?????”

Preview of FAQ

Q. What can I do about this?

Please join our calls for proper enforcement! You can email your MPs and Defra Ministers quickly and easily here.

You can also help these horses by sharing any information that you have, anonymously and in complete confidence, via the ‘Tell Us’ pages of our website.

If you would like to make a donation to help keep our teams on the road, you can do so here.

Q. Is live export of horses legal? What are the laws?

A. In some circumstances it can be legal to export horses (for example for breeding or competition). However there is a package of protective legislation in place which should prevent the indiscriminate export of equines for slaughter. Unfortunately it seems that this legislation is not being properly enforced.
The legislation in question includes:

  • The Welfare of Animals in Transport Order: Sets out the conditions for transporting animals, including rest periods, fitness for transport, vehicle standards and documentary requirements.
  • The Animal Welfare Act 2006: (in Scotland, the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006) Sets out the basic principle that animals should not be allowed to suffer unnecessarily, either through human action or inaction.
  • The Equine Identification Regulations: Set out the rules for horse passports.
  • The Tripartite Agreement: Allows the free movement of some horses between France, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Recently changed – see below.
  • The Animal Health Act 1981 (Minimum Values) Sets out the minimum value that certain types of equine should have if they are to be exported (see below).

Q. I thought exporting horses for slaughter had been banned years ago?

A. There is a package of legislation in place, including an Act which should have limited the export of equines to protect working horses, ponies, mules and donkeys from export for slaughter. This was brought in as a result of the work of our founder, Ada Cole, and has been improved over the years as a result of our subsequent work as a charity. However, it seems likely that a lack of effective enforcement has led to exports for slaughter taking place under the radar of enforcement agencies. We have gathered evidence and passed this on to the relevant authorities.

Q. What happens to the horses while they are being transported and after they leave the UK?

A. We can’t be sure of what will happen to these horses, but we strongly suspect that some of them will be slaughtered. Some of them are taken to markets where they will be sold for various purposes, including slaughter.  We also strongly believe that they will not be transported in good conditions, either when they leave the UK or on subsequent journeys after they arrive in Europe, and that their welfare will not be respected. The animals in question have a low financial value, making it uneconomic to export them unless corners are cut – which will compromise their welfare.

Q. What is the Tripartite Agreement (TPA) and does this affect these horses?

A. The Tripartite Agreement is a long-standing agreement between France, the UK and the Republic of Ireland to allow horses to move freely between these three countries without the need for animal health certification. This meant that horses could move over these borders without health checks, and without any traceability which posed significant welfare and disease risks. Originally applied only to Registered horses (such as a racehorses), it was extended in 2005 to apply to all horses, other than those moving directly to slaughter. We have been calling for it to be changed ever since, to prevent unscrupulous individuals from falsely declaring that they are moving horses for legitimate reasons then transporting the animals to slaughter abroad.

Happily our calls have recently been successful, and the Chief Veterinary Officers of France, Ireland and the UK have signed a new agreement which means that horses moving between France and the UK, and France and Ireland, will no longer be able to move freely unless they are ‘high-health horses’ – meaning registered FEI or race horses. Moreover these movements will be required to be logged, providing much-needed traceability.  Movement of horses between the UK and Ireland will be unaffected, as Ireland and the UK share the same official health status (determining which diseases are present and absent from a country), making a change impractical.

The details are yet to be decided, but we are very pleased that such a positive step has been taken to protect horses. The crucial thing now is that the details must be decided upon and these changes must be enforced when the revised agreement comes into force in May 2014. We will be working alongside Defra and the rest of the equine industry to finalize the details and to communicate the changes to horse owners.

Q. What does ‘Minimum Values’ mean and what does it mean for the export of horses and ponies?

A. By law horses and ponies must have a financial value above a certain amount in order for them to be exported overseas. This helps protect equines of a lower market value from being exported for slaughter, as the price for their meat should be less than the price of the horse or pony. However, with the lack of basic checks of welfare and documentation at ports, there is no way to know whether this law is actually being complied with.

Q. What about horses being imported into the UK?A. There are certainly equal, if not even greater reasons to be concerned about horses being imported into the UK. These horses may well have come from environments where serious diseases are present that we do not currently have in the UK. A lack of enforcement can make it difficult to trace where the horses came from, or where they went, if disease breaks out. In 2010, Britain had its first ever cases of equine infectious anaemia since 1976 when the disease was found in two horses that had been imported from mainland Europe. More cases were reported later the same year and in 2012, all in imported horses. Tracing the other horses that had travelled with the affected animals was a long and complex process.

Equally importantly, the welfare of imported horses may not be respected, with unfit horses being transported over long distances, and little or no enforcement to protect them. Any low-value animal may be vulnerable to this sort of abuse, whether it is entering the UK or leaving it.

The changes to the Tripartite Agreement should help with this issue to some extent, but only so long as they are enforced properly.Take action to help these horses today!

Link for FAQ;-

A NEWCASTLE West livestock factory is one of only five facilities in Ireland licensed to slaughter horses for meat, it has been confirmed.

The Ashgrove Meats facility in Churchtown has been slaughtering horses and exporting their meat for consumption in mainland Europe for the past three years. It is the only facility licensed to do so in Munster.

Ashgrove Meats is the only plant in Munster which slaughters horses for meat


Related Snippets Of Interest:-2/02/2013 Meat From Horses With Forged Passports Recalled By Limerick Abattoir

THE FOOD Safety Authority (FSA) has concluded an investigation after horses with forged passports were slaughtered for meat at a county Limerick abattoir.

It has been confirmed that meat from two Irish horses which had been exported to Italy had to be recalled after officials discovered that the animals had forged documentation.

The horses had been slaughtered at Ashgrove Meats in Newcastle Westone of only five facilities in Ireland licensed to kill horses for meat.

Under regulations, all horses slaughtered for meat in Ireland have to have a verifiable passport to ensure that they have not been in contact with substances which may be harmful to humans.


Related Snippets Of Interest:- 14/04/2013 NI’s Only Horse Slaughtering House Stops

THE only approved horse-slaughtering house in Northern Ireland has stopped killing horses, the Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has revealed.

She explained that the Armagh plant asked the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to remove its authorisation and stopped killing horses at the end of January.

“There was one slaughter plant in County Armagh approved by the FSA for equine slaughter,” she explained.

“This establishment is also approved for the slaughter of cattle and sheep. It ceased slaughtering horses completely on 25th January 2013 and has asked the FSA to completely remove their authorisation to slaughter equines.”

She said this was the only establishment approved by the FSA to slaughter horses in Northern Ireland in recent times.


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Horses Found Tied To Wheels of Parked Cars On Front Drive Of House

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“WTF…well I’ve seen it all now! How stupid, if this is how he treats his horses then he doesn’t deserve to have them; he obviously knows sod all about horse management. I hope WHW are keeping an eye on this idiot!”

Two horses have been found tied to the wheels of parked cars in London. World Horse Welfare Field Officer Nick White thought he had seen everything in this job, but describes this was his most “bizarre welfare concern” yet.

He was called on 11 April to check on “two horses kept in a tiny concrete area” in Southall, west London. He arrived to find a 16hh Friesian type and 15hh Welsh cob tied to the wheel of a car on the front drive of a house, next to a busy main road.

The cob’s rope was stuck under the engine, preventing him from lifting his head, while the Friesian was foraging from flowerpots.

After untangling the cob, I woke the owner up and discovered he was planning to leave the horses there for two more days, hoping to build a wooden shelter for them on the drive,” said Nick, who issued a time limit by when the horses had to be moved.

“Much to my relief, the owner took my advice of finding pastures green within the time limit. I watched with the rest of the street as both horses were ridden off into the sunset towards Heathrow airport.”

A warning has been issued to the owner, stating that they must not return the horses to the site.

Originally published on 24th April 2013

News Link:- 


Please Help Save The NYC Carriage Horses This Christmas

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Posting on behalf of my mum!

******ACTION ALERT – CROSS POST FAR AND WIDE: CONTACT THE ASPCA EVERY DAY (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450***********

Are you tired of seeing exploited, overworked NYC carriage horses hauling around callous tourists while dodging taxi cabs, buses and trucks?!

Are you tired of seeing the ASPCA counting their money while the NYC carriage horses continue to drop on the streets of Manhattan?! The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for the greedy and abusive carriage horse industry.

The ASPCA is supposed to monitor the carriage horses and ensure that the industry is following the city regulations. Where is the ASPCA? We have no idea.

Please contact them every day and ask them why they are not on the hack line monitoring the carriage horses who are being overworked during this busy holiday season.

Their phone number is (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450.

Please call them every day and ask them what they are doing to ban the carriage horse industry in NYC and remind them they need to be out there every day to monitor the horses and the drivers.

News Link:-


Published on 17 Aug 2012

Yesterday afternoon, a six-year-old carriage horse named Oreo was spooked by a horn, broke free from his carriage and tore through dangerous NYC traffic for four blocks before being tranquilized and collapsing in front of horrified onlookers. Thankfully, Oreo is now recovering in his stable with minor scratches.

Even though you don’t live in New York City, you can still make a difference for the horses by sending a letter to City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn. Fill out the info below and click SUBMIT to tell Speaker Quinn that as a NYC visitor, you want humane electric cars, not carriage horse abuse!


FBI — WARNING — Federal law allows citizens to reproduce, distribute or exhibit portions of copyright motion pictures, video tapes, or video disks under certain circumstances without authorization of the copyright holder. This infringement of copyright is called fair use and is allowed for purposes of criticism, news reporting, teaching and parody.

Please watch the following, it’s the first time I have; it really gives a clear insight into this industry. It is very upsetting to all animal lovers, so I guess I must say view at own discretion. I am not as strong as my mum when it comes to watching videos where animals suffer; but I know she & other animal advocates do so to get the information out & educate people on the atrocities that occur, often right under our noses. Just watch as the people pass these noble steeds, as if they were nothing but ornamental decorations.

I have just come back from seeing to our 2 horses who live in luxury & want for nothing…so to see these beautiful horses, nose to tail with exhaust fumes, dodging traffic & idiotic humans is just heart-breaking! I have been to the horse sales with my mum & seen horses that are spent, from over breeding, horse racing, abusive owners & horses who are so lame from road founder, they can hardly stand! But I bet that’s nothing compared to the horse sales where NYC carriage horses end up. Those once noble beautiful horses, now reduced to pitiful sentient beings literally on their last legs…will have one last journey, to the slaughter house! Please say NO to this cruelty!

Just a few petitions to ban NYC Horse Carriages:-

Two horses deliberately lamed by farrier

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“OMG…That man shouldn’t be allowed to work as a farrier ever again, he of all people would know that exposing the lamina would cause horrendous pain to the horse! It was done out of spite, because the lady changed farriers! He intentionally pulled the shoes the way he did using the wrong tools, to cause damage, then intentionally cut the hoof back, that is blatant & gross animal abuse!” 

“So why would the police charge him with criminal damage & not animal abuse…is there more to this case than has been revealed?? Had it been my horses, I wouldn’t have let it lie at a 3 month ban, I would make sure he never worked as a farrier ever again!!”

The owner of two horses deliberately lamed by her former farrier has blasted the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) for not barring him from shoeing horses again.

Mark Wellfair of Bentham, Glos, was handed athree-month ban, running until 23 August, by the FRC’s disciplinary committee on 24 April.

He was convicted of criminal damage to Cassandra Price’s horses on 21 July 2011 at Cheltenham Magistrates Court.

The court conditionally discharged him and ordered him to pay £220.80 compensation with £85 costs.

“I feel completely let down by the system,” said Miss Price. “The cruelty he caused to my horses was horrendous.”

Wellfair shod Miss Price’s horses for five years before she changed farriers in January 2011.

On 7 and 23 February 2011, Wellfair went into Miss Price’s field and pulled a shoe off first her five-year-old eventer Coolagadden Clover (known as Eric) and, on the second occasion, her advanced eventer Arron Carneval Hill II (Arron).

The shoes were pulled off with pliers and the hoof cut back, with large amounts of the hoof wall removed. In Arron’s case, the lamini were revealed, causing the hoof to bleed.

Both horses needed remedial farriery and Arron will always need stick-on shoes.

A vet told the hearing that it would have caused both horses pain and unnecessary suffering.

“Mark told the FRC he wanted to cause me inconvenience,” said Miss Price, “but the suffering he caused to my horses was absolutely disgusting.

“They trusted him because he had been their farrier.”

She said she felt disappointed that the police had prosecuted Wellfair for criminal damage rather than animal cruelty and that the FRC had not banned him for life.

A spokesman for the FRC said: “A three-month suspension is relatively rare and is a serious finding, which the committee considered was fair — taking into account the recovery time for the horses, the impact on the profession and that Mr Wellfair fully admitted the charges and showed remorse for his actions.”

She added that if the committee had felt Wellfair was indifferent to the suffering he caused the horses, it would have barred him from working again.

Wellfair could not be reached by H&H for comment.

News Link:-

Animal welfare activists seek ban on horse carriages along Alibaug beach

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Horse carriages are made to ply tourists through waist-deep water, notice sent to collector.

Following no movement on their complaint against horse carriages made to ply through waist-deep sea water at Alibaug beach, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization (FIAPO) has now sent a legal notice to the District Collector of Raigad on the issue and has asked for a ban on such practices at all beaches in the area.

“Since there was no action taken post our letter to the district collector in February, we have now sent a formal complaint under Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code so that immediate action is taken,” said Shakuntala Majhumdar, governing body member of FIAPO. “Apart from a ban on the practice near Kolaba fort, this time we have asked for a ban on horse carriages across all beaches in Alibaug,” she said.

The complaint terms the activity as a public nuisance since it puts human life at risk and amounts to cruelty against the animals under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960. “It is an eminent threat to both the horse and people on the carriage.

To the horse, because it is forced to pull a heavy load through waist deep sea water and to the people, because in case the horse slips and the carriage falls, it may cause them serious injury, especially to children and the elderly,” said Ambika Hiranandani, FIAPO’s lawyer. The complaint is made under Section 133 of the CrPC as it gives the district magistrate power to ban an activity which he considers public nuisance.

Newsline had reported on February 23 that FIAPO had complained against carriage drivers at Alibaug beach forcing horses to ply through waist deep sea water to ferry tourists to and from Kolaba fort, which is about a kilometer from the beach and becomes accessible by foot during low tide.

When Newsline visited the spot, an estimated 30 to 40 such carts were found on the beach with two horses each. Experts said saline water can cause dryness of hoof of the horses leading to lameness and since horses cannot see the depth of water, fatal injuries can take place. Besides, carrying such heavy loads is abusive to them.

News Link:-

Suffering At Its Worst…. Not For Sensitive Viewers

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It has been a long-weekend, (a very long weekend) for HHCU.

– we presume by the person who stole her

On Saturday, we received a frantic call for help from the owner of a horse in Botshabelo township, which is a good four-hours drive from the Unit.  His horse had been stolen, and when he found her, he knew that something was very wrong with her.

it had grown into the tissue, the wire had just about severed her tongue

We tried the nearest animal welfare organisation, who were unable to help, and we couldn’t get a vet to go out.  What do you do?  You help.  Trevor was on duty over the weekend, and he took Samson with him, who knows the area well – we haven’t been able to do any outreach work in Botshabelo before – we cannot cover all the areas we need to due to financial restraints.

Whilst in the area, Trevor and Samson saw many other problems with horses

an orphan foal with a broken knee

an infected branding wound

We de-wormed as many horses as we could whilst in Botshabelo – all in all over 20 horses were checked, and de-wormed.

Brushing Injury


As they were leaving, our inspectors stopped a cart horse to check harnessing: he had brushing wounds, and his feet were badly misshapen.  the problems were fixed, and we will re-check on this horse on our next visit.

 The owner of this horse flagged us down and asked for help – the poor animal was beyond help. Euthanasia was the only option.

Feet horribly overgrown

By this time, it was extremely late, and Trevor and Samson stayed at Samson’s home in a village near to Thaba Nchu, so that they could make an early start home the following morning.

Thank goodness they did…. as they left the house the next morning at around 6.30, a man was waiting for them – he urgently needed help with his horse.

According to the owner, he had been to Bloemfontein, and a villager had asked his wife if he could loan the horse and cart to transport some wood to his home nearby.

Set on fire whilst pulling the trailer, she didn’t go fast enough! FFS!!

Apparently, the mare, who was pregnant, would not go fast enough, and the driver of the cart doused her rear end with either kerosene or petrol, and set her alight with a burning torch whilst she was trying to pull  the cart.  The guilty party has disappeared – but we will find him, and he must pay for what he has done.

So, a miserable weekend – especially Trevor and Samson, who had to deal with euthanasing four horses during this episode.  The only good thing that I can think of to say, is at least those four horses are no longer suffering.  I despair of mankind sometimes, I truly do


Undercover investigation into horse meat trade – Animal Aid Video

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“I can only comment on what I would want for my horses, if injured, ill or so old, putting it to sleep would be the kindest thing. That’s an injection by the vet…whilst I am holding the horse head in my lap, stroking it gently & whispering in its ear,  how it is going to join lots of other horses; over Rainbows Bridge.

I am fortunate that I have never been put in that situation in all of my 40+ years of owning & loving horses.  Ponies I have grown out of, or horses not suitable, have gone to other horse owners I know, in & around where I live.  I have & never would take my horse to the horse auctions, you can’t be sure anyone is who they say they are at the auctions.  I have been plenty times & seen killer buyers filling up their trucks with beautiful horses; I always leave heartbroken & in floods of tears. That’s apart from the time I came home with my little rescued colt, Bengie, but that’s a whole different story!

The difference between the owners on the video & owners like myself is that we don’t love our horses & would never part with them unless forced, then it’s a dignified end. Our horses are part of the family, just like a dog just a bit bigger! People in the business, i.e. riding schools, competition horses or ex race horse owners, are not attached to their horses, period!. Their horses are mealy business tools, to make money from. When they cease to make money, they don’t want the horse & don’t want to have to pay for it’s upkeep.  Anyone of those horses would cost over £300 a week in livery fee’s, food etc. apart from riding school ponies, from my experience, they are usually turned out all year to keep cost’s down but when their not wanted, they still want a return on their investment.

Having said all the above, I believe a bullet in the right place is far better than a bolt gun. Bolt guns were designed for bovines not equines, their brains are set further back in the skull. Which is why a horse can regain consciousness after a bolt gun, whilst being hoisted up & having their throats cu…so they feel everything…putting a horse through that, is just cruel & heartless!.”

Published on 3 May 2012 by 

Undercover video showing the killing of horses for the meat trade. Visit for all the details.

The Equine Mind: Top 10 Things to Know

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“A Great post for all us horsey people in blog land & for those who want to know why a horse does what it does!”

My beautiful Gelderland Mare Lillia

“Why does he do that?” “What is she so scared of … there’s nothing there!” Most—if not all—horse owners have been there and asked those questions. Even though we don’t always understand equine behavior, there’s got to be a reason behind it, right? Absolutely. Horses’ behaviors date back to equine evolution, and horse owners greatly benefit from an understanding what goes on in a horse’s brain, according to one veterinarian. At the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev., Robert Miller, DVM, a former equine practitioner from Thousand Oaks, Calif., relayed the top 10 things horse owners, caretakers, and riders should understand about how the equine mind functions.

“There are 10 genetically predetermined behavioral qualities unique to the horse that have been established by natural selection over the 50 million-year period during which the horse evolved,” Miller began. “Failure to understand these qualities makes it impossible to have optimum communication with horses.”

  1. Flight—”We tend to attribute the flightiness of a horse as stupidity,” Miller said, but when horses spook and run from things, it’s simply their innate instincts kicking in. He explained that unlike the majority of prey animals that depend on horns, tusks, or antlers for defense, the only mechanism horses are armed with—their “life-saving” behavior—is the ability to run. The following nine qualities, Miller said, stem from the horse’s flight response.
  2. Perception—”The horseis the most perceptive of all domestic animals,” Miller said, adding that this quality allowed for the quick detection and escape from predators in the wild. He gave examples using the five senses:
    • Smell—Miller said horses have an “excellent” sense of smell.
    • Hearing—”The horse’s range of hearing is far beyond that of a human ear,” he said. Additionally, he noted, the ears swivel, giving the horse the ability to pinpoint where sounds originate. This was critical for survival in the wild.
    • Touch—”A horse’s sense of touch is extremely delicate,” Miller said, which is why an ill-placed saddle pad or a single fly can cause extreme irritation. “The sense we have in our fingertips is what the horse has all over his body.”
    • Taste—Ever tried to sneak Bute or a new supplement into a horse’s feed, only to have him turn up his nose? Horses have a very tactful sense of taste. When grazing in the wild, it’s important for horses to differentiate between good grass and moldy forage.
    • Sight—The sense that varies most from ours is the horse’s eyesight. While horses’ depth perception isn’t particularly strong, other factors enable them to “see things we’re not even aware of,” Miller said. The horse’s laterally placed eyes allow for nearly 360⁰ vision, a crucial survival mechanism for the wild equid. Additionally, Miller noted the horse has superb night vision and sees in muted, pastel colors during the day. The equine focusing system is also different from humans, he said. When a human eye transitions from focusing on close-up objects to far away objects, it takes one and a half to two seconds to adjust (Miller encouraged attendees to try it—look at something close up and then look at something far away, and try to focus on how long it takes the eyes to focus). Horses, on the other hand, make the transition seamlessly. This is because different parts of the eye have different focusing capabilities. Horses use the top portion of their eyes to see up close, which is why they often lower their heads when investigating something. The lower portion of the eye sees far away, which is why the animal will raise his head when looking at something in the distance; when the horse holds his head up high, he’s considered to be in the flight position.

To read the rest of this post click here:- The Equine Mind – Top 10 Things

Event rider Polly Stockton is mourning the loss of her top ride, Westwood Poser, who has died in afreak accident.

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The Master Imp gelding got out of the horse-walker at his co-owner’s yard in Ireland on 14 February and galloped on to the road, where he was hit by a lorry. “Mossie” died instantly.

Arthur Comyn, who owned the horse with Polly, told H&H he was “very angry” with himself for being “careless”.

“I didn’t shut the gate [on the walker] properly,” he said.

Mossie, who was 13, had been on box-rest with Mr Comyn since October, after scans revealed he had a small hole in his tendon.

The injury meant that the horse had to be withdrawn before the dressage at the European Championships in Luhmühlen last August.

“He was over the injury. I was so happy that he had recovered,” said Mr Comyn, who lives at Westwood, Mallow, in Co Cork.

“I was walking him out in-hand and was contemplating turning him out,” he added.

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This morning, we received a response to our complaint to the Hackney Horse Society of SA

The Acting President/Chairman, Mr A Davids, looks upon the complaints in a very serious light.  An emergency hearing against the owner and his assistant will be held on Wednesday 21st March 2012., just prior to their Annual General Meeting.  SA Studbook are very supportive of our complaint, stating that cruel training methods are NOT ACCEPTABLE., and SA Studbook.

We have proposed that now is the time to introduce rules pertaining to the welfare of animals into their Breed Rule Book.

Dangerous and dirty stables, little bedding. We have put forward, in our report to them, all of the offences that we feel have been committed against these poor horses, including cruel and barbaric training methods, tight chains around coronet causing injuries, completely unsuitable stabling facilities, barbed wire inside stable doors, lack of bedding, dirty stables, cruel training gadgets and tack, bandaging of necks, dangerous objects in paddocks and insufficient shelter.

Hackney Stud, Kimberley
dangerous and dirty stables, little bedding
Hackney Stud, Kimberley
some stallions were kept in what can only be described as a ‘cage’
Hackney Stud, Kimberley
this mare is expected to live in this area – damp, dangerous, and totally unsuitable
Hackney Stud, Kimberley

one of the confiscated training bridles

We will update again on this case shortly  – we WILL sort this out!

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