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Horse crisis report published
Horse welfare charities call on government and public help

A landmark report, entitled Left On The Verge: the approaching Equine Crisis in England and Wales, suggests that around 6000 horses will be at risk this winter, and charities will be physically unable to cope with the increasing numbers of horses being abandoned, neglected or abused.

In the report, horse welfare charities call on the public to help rehome horses; for horse owners to take responsibility for their animals and not pass the problem onto local authorities, charities and landowners; and for the Government and other agencies to help rein in the problem before winter sets in and hundreds of horses and ponies suffer.

All major horse organisations have seen a rise in numbers. The RSPCA took in more than twice the number of horses between April 2011 and March 2012 as it did the previous year; World Horse Welfare has seen the numbers of horses taken into its centres rise by 50% since 2006 and has to restrict admissions; Redwings has seen a 28 per cent increase in equine intake since 2006 and abandonments rise from 160 in 2009 to 450 in 2011. Furthermore, last winter, HorseWorld saw a threefold increase in the number of abandoned and neglected horses it rescued compared with the previous year.

Overbreeding and the current economic climate are thought to have contributed to what Nicolas de Brauwere, Head of Welfare at Redwings Horse Sanctuary and Chairman of the National Equine Welfare Council, has called "an extremely serious state of affairs."

Meanwhile, Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, commented: “The organisations are already at breaking point with a severe shortage of available places and we are aware of an additional 6,000 horses which could be at risk over the winter.

“These are all groups of horses that are on the edge of becoming welfare concerns, either because their owners are struggling to look after them or because they are not getting the care they need and ownership is unclear. We could not cope if even a fraction of this number needed to be rescued.

“We are urging members of the public who can offer a horse a home to please do so now.”

To read the report, click here.

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Waterfowl sites in Essex given greater protection

News Story 1
 Two important sites for waterfowl in Essex have been given the strongest possible environmental protection, Defra has announced.

Allfleet’s Marsh and Brandy Hole, which are part of the Crouch and Roach estuaries, are now Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). They were also designated Ramsar wetland of international importance.

Both sites provide suitable habitat for internationally important wintering water birds, including dark-bellied brent geese, lapwing, shoveler and golden plover, among many waterfowl species.

Image by Ian Kirk, Broadstone, Dorset/Commons Wikimedia/CC BY 2.0 

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News Shorts
New Animal Medicines Best Practice Programme launched

A new Animal Medicines Best Practice Programme (AMBP) has been launched by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) to enable a coordinated and consistent approach to farmer training in the responsible use of antibiotics.

The programme comes in response to demand from the food supply chain for appropriate training. It provides materials for vets and farmers alike that satisfy farm assurance requirements such as the Red Tractor recommendations.

The new training is available via the NOAH website or through the online eLearning platform Lantra .