Horse lovers & Celebrities Unite to track down horses stolen in Hungarian raid

By Alison Grant

Your news

19 August 2011 10:53

Horse lovers and equestrian businesses have joined forces with celebrities to help find a group of 4 horses stolen from British saddlers who live in Hungary.

The four horses were stolen from their field late on Tuesday 16th August in what was clearly an organised raid.
"The fence had been dismantled, the electric fence broken, the horses removed and then the fence rails had been hastily replaced. Unfortunately the police weren't able to distinguish specific tyre-tracks from others around the area, but a lorry must have been used to load the horses once they were taken out from their field," explained devastated owner Karin Hackett who settled in central Hungary some time ago with friend and business partner Paul, where they operate a bespoke saddlery business and care for their many (mostly rescued) animals.

Karin and Paul are heartbroken and fear for the welfare of their beloved horses. Animal welfare and transport rules are sometimes not as strict in Hungary as they are in the UK, and there have been increasing reports to equestrian organisations of horses transported for slaughter for the meat industry in eastern Europe without the permission of the animals' owners. Only Karin's 2 elderly horses were left behind in the field - one of which is nearly blind and is dependent on two of his field-mate friends (who were taken) to get around. He is totally lost without them. Karin and Paul cannot bear to think about the dreadful fate that may befall their pets. Several animal welfare groups have campaigned for much tighter restrictions on live animal transport to tackle the problem of the illegal horsemeat trade.

Friends of Karin back in the UK have enlisted the support of the horse lover community and over 3,000 people signed up to the facebook group "Kis Vihar & 3 of his friends STOLEN"
Famous names who have showed their support for the campaign via twitter include pop-star Michelle Heaton, 80’s actress Emma Samms & Katie Price’s BFF Phill Turner as well as well known blogger Cathy Atkinson - founder of the Fugly Horse of the Day blog. The BHS have also showed their support along side equestrian clothing brand Musto.

Family and supporters have also helped to raise a substantial reward of £2,500 for information which leads to the safe return of the horses.

Support has also come from the organisation Stolen Horse International who have waived their $70 fee to help trace the animals. Unfortunately some equestrian magazines have chosen not to participate in assisting in the search for these horses – so Karin's supporters are now looking to the non-equestrian community to help raise awareness. Members of the facebook group have contacted Hungarian authorities, local agricultural associations, riding schools and trekking centres as well as World Horse Welfare and Equestrian governing bodies including The British Horse Society and the Federation Equestrian International. Sadly the group has also spent considerable time contacting Slaughter houses, as distressing as it is, it’s vital.

Karin: “Thanks to the generosity of my wonderful cyber-friends, the reward fund now stands at three quarters of a million forints (£2500 GBP) That’s a LOT of money out here in Hungary. Hopefully it's enough to provoke someone into talking. Thank you so much- I can’t believe people’s generosity.”

For more information, click here to visit the facebook group set up to help find these horses