Hampshire is the worst place in the country for horse cruelty

Daily Echo: RSPCA groom Izi Reeves with the mare Faith. RSPCA groom Izi Reeves with the mare Faith.

HAMPSHIRE is the worst place in the country for horse cruelty it has been revealed.

Animal welfare charity the RSPCA is warning of a horse crisis in the county after rescues of abused and neglected equines soared by nearly 300 per cent in the last 12 months.

The shocking statistics reveal that 163 horses, ponies and donkeys had to be saved last year – more than anywhere else in the country.

This compares to just 41 in 2012 and is 100 more than in Cornwall, which had just 65 recues carried out in the last year.

Hampshire also came top in the south-west for the most calls complaining about horse welfare in 2013, with 1,005 calls.

This is nearly 400 more than the county in second place, Somerset, with 615 calls and 100 more than last year.

It was also revealed that the county witnessed the fourth biggest increase in equines needing rescue across the south-west in the last five years – a whopping 426 per cent increase.

The shocking figures were revealed as the RSPCA launched a campaign to find homes for the record numbers of abused, neglected and abandoned horses and ponies, which has been called ‘Homes for Horses’.

It says that it has seen a significant increase in calls across the country and blames the “equine crisis” on falling horse prices over the past five years, combined with the fact that feed and care costs are rising.

This, it says, has led to thousands of horses being neglected, dumped and, in some cases, left to starve to death.

The RSPCA reports that numbers of neglected horses rescued by RSPCA inspectors nationally has almost tripled and the charity’s convictions relating to equines have more than doubled in the last five years.

It says that for every horse waiting in one of its centres there are a further seven waiting to take their place.

The good news is that the rehoming rate has doubled but the RSPCA is still caring for 900 neglected, abused and abandoned horses across England and Wales.

RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde, who heads a team of equine officers, described the increase as “very worrying” and that the disturbing trend seemed to be affecting horses more than any other animal that the RSPCA deals with.

Abigail Moon, the RSPCA’s rehoming operations manager, said: “Even though we are rehoming record numbers of horses and ponies we are rescuing more and more each day and still have hundreds looking for fantastic new owners.

“We really need the horse community to help us tackle the equine crisis.”

To find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved log on to the website rspca.org/ homesforhorses.

You can also show your support by making a small donation. Just text the word HORSE to 70111 to give £3.

Comments (3)

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12:21pm Thu 26 Jun 14

sparkster says...

If people can't look after any animal responsibly then they shouldn't have them, it's the animals that do the suffering
If people can't look after any animal responsibly then they shouldn't have them, it's the animals that do the suffering sparkster
  • Score: 5

1:25pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Ozmosis says...

Until the RSPCA can prove they are whiter than white I'd rather not donate, thanks.
Until the RSPCA can prove they are whiter than white I'd rather not donate, thanks. Ozmosis
  • Score: 5

5:42pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Poppy22 says...

Very depressing news, and not helped - no doubt - by so many former horse grazing fields and meadows in this area being built on by our Councils, especially Eastleigh Borough Council which is taking away long-term traditional grazing land in huge amounts over the next 1-5 years.
Do people need a licence to own a horse? If not, they should. Also, when purchasing a horse privately or from a rescue centre like the RSPCA, the potential owners should have to prove that (a) they have the right location for the horse to graze and (b) they can afford to not only feed the horse and care for it medically but have the experience (or have undertaken training) in how to care for a horse. (The same should also apply re dogs and cats). Plus a maximum number of animals that people can own (depening on their property and land size), unless a business.
Sadly, my own experience of the RSPCA when adopting a cat was not good. No house inspection, no follow up visit and, despite the cat having been with the RSPCA for 3 months since being found at 8wks old, still not used to human contact and effectively quite "wild". I hope my experience isn't the norm.
However, the rescue of animals in cruelty and neglect situations seems much better? And at least the RSPCA are prosecuting, though the fines/allocated costs and sentences aren't high enough and I don't think the RSPCA should have to fund the prosecutions, the Crown should, and perhaps the RSPCA should petition to that effect so that it can use its funds to employ more inspectors to carry out more rescues and expand the RSPCA centres to cope with the huge number of animals being abandoned or neglected. We also need more subsidised veterinary care at rescue centres. Currently, only people on benefits qualify but vet care (and pet insurance!) is now so expensive that sometimes people who aren't on benefits also need reduced-cost or free care so that an animal doesn't suffer.
Very depressing news, and not helped - no doubt - by so many former horse grazing fields and meadows in this area being built on by our Councils, especially Eastleigh Borough Council which is taking away long-term traditional grazing land in huge amounts over the next 1-5 years. Do people need a licence to own a horse? If not, they should. Also, when purchasing a horse privately or from a rescue centre like the RSPCA, the potential owners should have to prove that (a) they have the right location for the horse to graze and (b) they can afford to not only feed the horse and care for it medically but have the experience (or have undertaken training) in how to care for a horse. (The same should also apply re dogs and cats). Plus a maximum number of animals that people can own (depening on their property and land size), unless a business. Sadly, my own experience of the RSPCA when adopting a cat was not good. No house inspection, no follow up visit and, despite the cat having been with the RSPCA for 3 months since being found at 8wks old, still not used to human contact and effectively quite "wild". I hope my experience isn't the norm. However, the rescue of animals in cruelty and neglect situations seems much better? And at least the RSPCA are prosecuting, though the fines/allocated costs and sentences aren't high enough and I don't think the RSPCA should have to fund the prosecutions, the Crown should, and perhaps the RSPCA should petition to that effect so that it can use its funds to employ more inspectors to carry out more rescues and expand the RSPCA centres to cope with the huge number of animals being abandoned or neglected. We also need more subsidised veterinary care at rescue centres. Currently, only people on benefits qualify but vet care (and pet insurance!) is now so expensive that sometimes people who aren't on benefits also need reduced-cost or free care so that an animal doesn't suffer. Poppy22
  • Score: 5

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