As a member of Redwings with virtual adopted horses ( See below about Adoptions) from their centre; I received the grim news through the post. I wish I could show you the appalling & very upsetting pictures the state the horse were found in, but I can’t; however I can tell you how some of the rescuers described the scene:-
“This was the worst cumulative case of horse suffering we had ever witnessed. Seeing the pain & distress of so many horses was worse than you can imagine. This is a tragic & upsetting situation, but we have to share the harsh reality of this crisis. In the hope that we can stop it from happening again…
Scenes from the Somme – stranded in a vast expanse of deep wet mud, surrounded by barbed wire, with no food & no hope the site was reminiscent of a battlefield with all the horrors of war – the horses were utterly desperate.
Death Camp – the Redwings team likened the scenes to a ‘ concentration camp for horses’ with the vulnerable youngsters & their mothers most likely to succumb to starvation & disease.
The Fallen - over 100 horses were so sick, injured & malnourished that they lost their lives.
“Read more from the news below”
Multi-agency operation in South Wales
Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the RSPCA have spent over a week working to safeguard the future welfare of more than 400 horses at a location between Bridgend and Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Following a report to the Vale of Glamorgan Trading Standards team, welfare officers and vets moved quickly to assess the horses and provide treatment for those needing it. Over six days (12-17 November), more than 300 horses were removed from the site to places of safety by the organisations involved, with assistance from South Wales police and Bristol-based charity HorseWorld who provided vital support.
These horses will be cared for and receive further treatment as necessary whilst the investigation continues. Redwings have taken immediate responsibility for 19 horses from the site, including 12 orphaned foals.
Sadly, as the operation on site progressed and more animals were assessed, it became clear that a number of the horses were in such a state of suffering that there was only one option for them. Over 100 of the horses had to be put to sleep on veterinary advice.
Redwings Head of Welfare and senior vet Nic de Brauwere said, “I am incredibly proud of the work my team and staff from the other agencies have carried out over the last week to deal with what was an incredibly severe welfare situation. Our interest at all times was to do the best we could for each horse we found, and tragically for some that meant giving them a peaceful end after all their suffering. This operation has been an astonishing feat considering the small number of people involved and the overwhelming number of demands on our time and resources. Our staff worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the animals on the site despite the incredibly difficult circumstances, and we must give special mention to Vale of Glamorgan Trading Standards team who took quick and decisive action in what was nothing less than a state of emergency for these horses.”
Martin Hubbard from the RSPCA said: “This was a difficult and tragic situation that developed very quickly, leaving many of the horses in a desperate condition. It is thanks to the Vale of Glamorgan local authority and to the fast response and hard work of everyone involved that we managed to attend to the animals and get the majority moved to safety.”
Christina Roberts-Kinsey, Principal Trading Standards Officer for Vale of Glamorgan Council, said, “We take all complaints regarding animal welfare very seriously. After visiting the site and witnessing the appalling conditions it was necessary to take this prompt action to prevent any further suffering to the animals. This action would not have been possible without the help and support of Redwings, the RSPCA and South Wales Police.”
This case is sadly typical of the situation right across the UK, where it is believed up to 7,000 horses and ponies are currently at risk of abandonment or neglect. Welfare charities have produced a report into the current equine welfare crisis, which can be downloaded here http://www.redwings.org.uk/news-updatedhorsecrisis.php.
Since January 1st this year we have taken 219 horses and ponies into our care, and we are currently looking after 1300 rescued residents at our Sanctuary sites across the UK. To donate and help us continue to help horses, please text code RWHS00 followed by the amount you’d like to give (eg RWHS00 £5) to 70070, or follow this link to the donation pages, thanks so much.
Please do whatever you can to help – and do it today.
Click here to donate now… or text code HORS30 followed by the amount you’d like to give (eg HORS30 £5) to 70070. Thank you.
There are other ways to help too - you can write to your MP, recycle your mobile phone, or send us your unwanted Christmas presents and old horse tack. It all helps!
Equine crisis – urgent update
We are in the middle of an equine crisis situation in the UK. Redwings has just helped rescue 300 horses from a site in South Wales, a few weeks ago we helped move 46 seemingly abandoned horses from a site in Hampshire, and we are already operating at capacity, with over 200 horses having coming into our care this year already.
Fly grazing and abandonment are two of the major issues contributing to this crisis. We have been delighted to see the fast tracking of new legislation from the Welsh Government to tackle the fly grazing of horses and ponies in Wales and are urgently asking the UK Government to follow suit in England to help stem the tide of unwanted horses across the country.
The new Control of Horses (Wales) Bill was passed in the National Assembly on December 10th and just needs to receive Royal Assent to become law. It grants more powers to local authorities to take action to help fly grazing and abandoned horses. However, the UK government has no such plans in England at a time when thousands of horses are at risk of suffering and death and landowners and local authorities struggle to cope with the problem.
On Tuesday 26th November 2013, MPs held a debate in Westminster Hall and we would like to thank everyone who asked their MP to go along. there was a really good turnout and a fascinating discussion which we hope will have helped pushed this issue up the political agenda. You can watch the full debate here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=14264
As 6,500 horses remain at risk of needing rescue in England and Wales, Redwings, the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare, The British Horse Society, Blue Cross and HorseWorld have released a series of devastating case studies to illustrate how current laws permit horses to suffer needlessly including two recent cases rescued by Redwings; Stephen the foal who was left to drown in a river in Essex and Lottie the pony who was found wandering the streets of Diss.
Stephen was found abandoned at just one day old in a stretch of the River Lea in Essex
You can download a copy of our updated report on the equine crisis below:
Rescue update of Alton Horses
At the end of September, welfare charities joined forces to remove 46 very hungry and many thin and sickly horses from a bare field in Alton. Eight of the most poorly horses came into the care of Redwings, while the rest found homes at private yards, where the RSPCA is providing for their care.
We very tragically lost Georgiana, only two weeks after her rescue. Georgiana was suffering with salmonella – a disease which several of these horses have – and also had an horrendous small redworm burden. Thousands of small redworms can hide inside the walls of the digestive system undetected, and can suddenly erupt out all at once, causing terrible diarrhoea and internal damage.
Details of how you can get involved, including a quick and easy way to write to your local MP can be found here: http://bit.ly/Um6rKc
Redwings Adoption Club
The Redwings Adoption Club is the fun way to support our charity and make a new friend in the process! A year’s adoption of a Redwings horse, pony, donkey or mule costs just £12.50, which goes directly towards the daily care of your chosen equine and their friends.
Faith’s Rescue & Recovery
Published on 27 Nov 2013
The moving story of Faith, who was rescued from Essex after she had collapsed and could not get up by herself – she was taken to Redwings Horse Sanctuary and against all the odds, she survived – watch her story here and read more about her at www.redwings.org.uk. Text £5 to RWHS00 to 70070 to donate to Redwings.