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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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Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."

 

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News Shorts
New shearing guidance for farmers and contractors

Industry bodies have produced guidance for farmers and contractors on how to handle sheep during shearing to avoid stress and injury.

The guidance includes every step - from the presentation of sheep and facilities for shearing, through to using a contractor and shearers - and aims to ensure shearing is carried out safely, efficiently and with high standards of animal welfare.

Guide co-author Jill Hewitt from the NAAC said: “Shearing is a professional job that takes significant skill. Shearers take their responsibility to protect animal welfare very seriously and it will be a positive step to remind everyone of the importance of working together.’