Number of horses rescued by RSPCA hits four-year high

The number of horses rescued by charities has reached a four-year high, says the RSPCA.

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Statistics revealed by the charity show that 980 horses were rescued by the RSPCA in 2017, with 928 horses currently in the charity's care.

On average, the RSPCA receives 80 calls a day about horses to its cruelty hotline. 

The current horse crisis sees rescue charities, including the RSPCA, called out to neglected and abandoned horses every day in the UK, with many of the animals extremely sick or dying.

Despite the efforts of equine welfare organisations, the crisis shows no sign of easing, with huge pressures on charities to find stables and funding to care for the large number of horses.

The RSPCA’s inspectorate national equine co-ordinator Christine McNeil said: “We’ve been talking about the horse crisis for several years now, but the truth is the situation is just as severe today as when it started.

"Last year we took in more horses than we have in any of the past four years since 2012, and with our inspectors being called to rescue more and more every week, we are stretched to the limits.

“Up and down England and Wales, horses are being found sick, or dumped liked rubbish, dying or dead. Distressingly, this is common and it’s a huge issue.

"We're constantly receiving calls to our cruelty line - on average 80 per day about horses alone - as well as messages every day on social media from very concerned and upset people asking for our help."

The impact of the recession, over breeding, the high costs of vet bills, the rising cost of hay and falling prices for horses have all contributed to the crisis.

It's hope that the new central equine database managed by DEFRA will make it easier for officials to identify horses and their owners.

A new enforcement system is also planned this year in England with fixed penalty notices to be given by local authorities to owners with any horse under nine years old that does not have a passport or microchip.  

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