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East of England: Equine cases soar for animal charity

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 March 2012




THE growing numbers of horses found neglected and needing care is putting the RSPCA under pressure “as never before”, the charity has warned.

The RSPCA currently has 68 horses in boarding across the region.

The charity laid the blame for the rising number of neglect cases at the feet of horse owners and traders who they say are buying or breeding
animals they can neither care for, nor sell.

It is understood the horse market is currently in a slump.

RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde said: “People who have made a
living from breeding and selling horses are failing to acknowledge that the animals’ value has dropped and they keep breeding although
they have nowhere to keep the
horses and have not accounted for
the high prices of hay, straw and

“This situation has got to stop. We have seen some ponies sold at markets for as little as £5 and the horses change hands on multiple occasions at numerous markets and sales,
repeatedly compromising their health and welfare.

“The costs of euthanasia and gelding mean that many owners are also failing to pay for these, leaving sick and old horses to suffer and die, and leading to indiscriminate breeding amongst unneutered horses.

“We are, quite honestly, struggling to keep up with what is a mounting crisis.”

The RSPCA says the biggest problemfaced are the growing numbers of horses taken into care. Often these animals are subject to prosecution cases and can stay in care for months or even years – and it can cost more than £5,000 to rehabilitate a pony.

The number of times the RSPCA had to give welfare advice in relation to horses rose from 2,138 in 2010, to 2,176 in 2011.

In the eastern region, officers gave welfare advice in relation to 292 people in 2011. The advice ranged from urging owners to seek veterinary treatment, to providing more food, water or shelter. However, owners cannot always be found, particularly where they have left horses on someone else’s land.

RSPCA equine rehoming officer Sally Learoyd said: “We have been overwhelmed with enquiries from well-meaning people who believe that we are able to step in and remove animals straight away.

“We share their frustration that there are horses in fields which may seem as if they don’t have water or food but we do not have any powers to remove these horses unless they are suffering.”

Churches Together in Sudbury and District are spreading the Easter message with wooden crosses inscribed with Bible verses.

Students at the West Suffolk College, in Bury St Edmunds, have been shaving their heads, holding a quiz night, a sponsored skeleton, sponsored walk and 24-hour non-stop sport which added up to £4,500 being raised for the GeeWizz charity to purchase laptops for the town’s Priory School.

A 49-year-old mother of five is defying medics and taking part in this year’s London Marathon

The official opening of the Stratford St Mary lock is due to take place in May.

Waving banners and carrying protest placards, more than 900 people marched along Ipswich’s Waterfront today calling for the public to be allowed a say on the Brexit deal.

A fundraising initiative has been set up in Sudbury to help purchase neighbouring buildings used by over 240 youngsters.

Suffolk’s food and livestock community has paid a heartfelt tribute to ‘local meat hero’ Charlie Mills, who has died, 
aged 55.

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