One horse, pony or donkey is harmed deliberately every day across the summer months in England and Wales, according to shocking new figures released by the RSPCA.

The charity reported that 3,226 incidents of deliberate cruelty have been recorded over the last five years, which means on average of around one horse is harmed deliberately every day in the summer.

It has prompted the charity to launch its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, which aims to help fund the RSPCA’s daily rescue work, helping animals that have been through trauma get to a place of safety and be rehabilitated.

The RSPCA has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign. Photo: RSPCA

“It is really upsetting to think that there are people out there who harm animals on purpose — and the fact that so many horses are the victims of such cruelty is just awful,” said Dr Mark Kennedy, equine welfare expert at the RSPCA.

“We have seen incidents where horses have been bludgeoned to death, beaten and left injured and bleeding at the side of the road. It is such unimaginable cruelty.

“We hope that through our Cancel Out Cruelty campaign we can raise awareness about the importance of kindness and compassion towards animals and that we can raise vital finds to help support our frontline officers who are out rescuing these animals every single day.”

Bludgeoned to death

Some of the cruelty cases include a Shetland pony with a nasty bleeding leg injury who was left at the side of a road to die in Worcestershire; a pony who was bludgeoned to death in West Yorkshire; a cob who was left in a field riddled with maggots and flystrike in Cheshire and a young Shetland who was kicked and hit while his previous owners were ‘training’ him.

The RSPCA gets around 84,000 calls to its cruelty line every month and around 1,500 of those are about intentional cruelty. The charity sees a rise in the summer by around 400 calls on average per month, which equates to 47 calls every day or two every hour.

In 2020, 289 reports of intentional harm against equines were reported to the RSPCA and, over the summer (June-August) in particular, the charity received 87 reports of cruelty.

To donate and to find out more about the Cancel Out Cruelty campaign visit

Look what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get your copy of the latest issue

Check out our latest subscription offer