Page 1



Since the RSFCA was set up

ín igZ4a large proportion of our work has involved equines {horses, donkeys and ponies) but we are currently seeing a steady increase in their mistreatment and abandonment. y l6 February this year,

we had

received 122 complaints about abandoned equines; last year we received 120 over the whole of

January and February. In 201 I we found new homes for 240 horses, which was a large increase on the

Mount¡ lg concern for equ¡ne welfare UK,

"The value ofhorses has dropped signficantly and some sell at market

horses at any one time in the

for less than the price of a bag of feed,"

regarding their welfare increased

reportsJackie. "Some owners often

by around

become overwhelmed by the costs

and the number of calls we received


I percent in 20 I I .

Although all RSPCA field staff

involved in keeping equines and

respond to complaints in relation to

can't afford to feed and care for

equines, the Society also has a team

them, which results in their welfare standards dropping." Tlpes of horses and the environments in which they are kept range from

specialist equine oflìcers. Jackie explains their role: "This team is usually the hrst

thoroughbred racehorses to tethered gl,psy ponies. Some are used for

This ranges from providing advice, to overseeing and assisting with the removal

competitions or pleasure riding, while

and care of equines subject to cruelty


port of call for field staffwhen assistance is required

in any equine-related matter.

156 horses rehomed in 2010. This extra need doesn't come cheaply there are still 500 horses being boarded on behalf of the RSPCA, with the costs of rehabilitating each animal olten exceeding d5,000. Jackie Hickman is a professional farrier and RSPCA inspector, and worked with RSPCA International to deliver training

with little to no provision made for their welfare. Although tethering in itself is not

Fair, held everyJune in Cumbria.

inJapan in 2009 and 201l. We talked to

illegal, it requires carefirl management to

over Europe, many arriving in horse-

her about her work with equines in the

ensure the welfare needs of a horse are met. There are at least 3,500 tethered


UK and the challenges she


Equine oflicers also

others are kept as pets and do little or

case investigations.

no daily work. A major problem is the

provide support at major national horse

huge number ofhorses kept on chain

events and fairs."

tethers, often on council or common land

The largest of these is Appleby Horse Thousands of travellers attend from all






Man riding a pony in the River Eden


at Appleby Horse



Their first step involved liaising with the horse-owning cãínmrniry and assessing the situation..Although the majority of the horses involved spend their lives tethered on chains,

there have been


of some escaping

onto busy roads. In addition, it is a Iegal requirement within the

UK for

each equine to have a valid passport

before it can be moved or sold. This now includes the requirement to be


a procedure that can

drawn wagons, and huge crowds gather

only be performed by a veterinary

to watch. The RSPCA provides a team


of more than 30 uniformed inspectors,

"It was apparent during the initial

which works alongside the police, a team ofequine vets and other equine charities àg € to monitor the fair both day and night. õ

passport and it was also clear that some

A huge variety ofequines can be seen s

owners did not understand the concept

at the


assessment that almost none of the horses checked had a microchip or

there are numerous trotting

or pacing horses, driving horses, ponies ofall shapes and sizes, and donkeys. Aithough this is predominantly a horse

of routine worming," saysJackie. At


the first event, horse owners were


invited to bring their horses along on


Horses pulling a cart at Appleby

fair, other animals can also be a cause for concern, especially puppies brought

Horse Fair.

to the event to be sold illegally.

before the activities begin, RSPCA

either day for a welfare check by an equine vet, worming, microchipping, passport application and financial

inspectors trained in water-rescue clear

assistance for castration, if required. A minimum fee was requested to cover

include horses and carts involved in

the river ofany debris or articles that

costs, then a donation was optional.

collisions; tethering injuries; accidents

could be hazardous to the horses. Any

during transportation; injuries sustained

person seen mistreating a horse is dealt

of the National Equine Welfare Council

in the river; ill-fitting tack rubs and

participated. The RSPCA provided

harnesses; wounds; colic; choke; cuts;

with on the spot, with advice given or, in more serious cases, the instigation

and trauma-related injuries. "Hundreds

ofa cruelty

and despite the cold and wet weather

Problems encountered at the fair

ofhorses are taken to the event for

case investigation.

"Horse owners are generally

Several charities that are members

three inspectors and the microchips, a staggering 103 horses attended.

trading and during the week horses

accepting ofour presence, however

are driven, often at speed, along a

some can become very confrontational

closed-oflroad known as the 'flashing

and abusive, especially when their

The next stage is to organise educational events providing equine wellare advice within the communities.

lane'. This is a known accident hotspot

animals are seized because of cruelty.


and we are usually on site immediately

Fortunately the police are supportive

England and Wales as a proactive

to deal with any casualties or welfare

of our activities," Jackie concludes. Jackie has also been involved in a

before they become a problem. This



Jackie. Each day, horses are taken into the

is hoped this

will be rolled out


scheme to address welfare concerns

new initiative called the Equine Link

is in line with

river running through Appieby town for

Project. The first hvo-day event was a

preventing cruelty before it happens.

washing and occasionally for swimming.

tremendous success, with the RSPCA


that this activity is closely

tlle Society's aim of

and local police teaming up to tackle

Jackie monitored in case any horses appear at

problems associated with numerous

There is more information on equine

risk while in the water, as horses have

welfare and straying issues within an

care on our website

area of the West Midlands.


drowned in the past. "Every morning

Message from the editor

and internationally. On 1 March 2012, the government in England announced that it will be bringing fonruard a law to ban travelling circuses from using performing wild animals, stating: 'There is no place in

This issue oÍ lnternational lVews (lN)

today s society for wild animals being used

focuses on equine issues. We look

for our entertainment in travelling circuses

at specialist activities that the RSPCA

and wild animals deserve our respecl"

undertakes (page l) and a high-profile

The government has tommitted to

prosecution regarding cruelty towards

introducing a ban in the next three years.

equines (page 7). The Horse Protection

We will be watching circuses closely until

Society from Lithuania talks to

us this

month about its work in News from you (page 5)and we've received some great feedback from you on the Spring/Summer

the circuses have a retirement plan for the

the ban is in placi:, and insist that animals that guarantees their


We were also delighted to hear


20ll issue of lN, especially about managing stray dog populations (page a). News from

the Greek government has banned the

the UK (page 6) takes a step back in time

campaign backed by more than 50 local

to look at the role of horses in the First

animal protection groups across Greece.

World War


an extended version of this

The new animai Protection law also addresses a number of important issues

of AnimalLife magazine. Equine issues

concerning stray animals, including the

are topical at the moment with the release

creation of an online microchip database.

film War Horse,which highlights


use of all animals in circuses following a

story can be found in the winter 20ll issue

of the



Greece is the fìrst country in Europe to

the strong human-animal bond and our

ban all animals from circuses and similar

responsibilities towards animals.

performances. Austria currently has a ban

on wild-animal acts, and several European countries including Portugal, Denmark and Croatia have measures

to ban or phase

out wild animals in circuses. Many thank

to Cretan AnimalWelfare Group (CAWG) for all its updates.

Greece has become the first country

in Europe to ban all animals from circuses.

a page for animal welfare organisations: n-action/

international/whoweworkurith/ localorganisations. lf your association has expired but

you would like to continue to receive Animal Action and/or


magazines, you will

need to set up a subscription. You can do

this at:

theclub or aboutus/stayi nformed/animall ife. lN can be accessed via the animal welfare organisations page of our website (see above) or you can ask to be put on our mailing list to receive a hard copy. Just email: international@

Association scheme à


Most associates should now be aware

We are really interested in the work that

that we are winding down the association

other organisations are doing internationally

scheme and not renewing exPiring

and will share ideas and comments through

memberships. We will still be producing

the website and ll¡ with the wider animal

lN, however, and are available to provide

welfare communitY.

advice and support where we can to

Please send anY feedback to:


any overseas organisation. Our website

Following on from our article on circuses

is a great resource and features lots of We would love to hear your reactions to any of the stories in

in lN Autumn/lVinter 2010 there have

useful publications:</

been exciting developments in the UK



this edition of lN or your own experiences of any of the issues featured.


Yesterdayln'aslookingattheRSPCAwebsiteandbychancelound'Intemationa|Neztts' Congratuiationsonyourarticleaboutstraydoganimalcontrol(spring/summer2011).

ïä,äï îî1å"".*ffi:åi::iii:ï"ÏxTT*#*í a'fNR neuter' reilrn) proglamme very hard to operate




***g*$¡3t**,3ËKË"'$ :tr*i::iîiH:i::::iffi

;:'"T,#::x' *'



tourists have ieft the cats and dogs once the winter programme to feed the sick and respond closed' We try and Íeat and many businesses are


about the tot^t schools and teach children to cruelty. \\¡e also t'i'it and booklets' of anìmals using a slideshow understanding and treatment amount of work still a lot but there is an enormous achieve to managed Ìrave We


Children showing

interest in a IGPSA campaign.

tobedone.Wearetryingtowidenoutourneuteringprogrammetolocalvillages to us-for help'

in local people coming and are slowly seeing u"ìttt"u'" and we try hard dogs' both street and owned' We have also started to register ownership' to promote responsible

Kind regards Sandra Osborne KAPSA Protection of tfutt un ,qrro.,u¡ion for the ilr.., on'*u t - Kalkan sokak hayvanlarini

koruma dernegi

I received the spring,/summer 20r r


J{eøs issue featuring the article 'Is a shelter a solution?, I have been struggling since I983 in southern Italy to reduce the enormous number of strays through spay/neuter projects, identification and registration of dogs and cats, educarion and t.ainíng, u"O úrO¡"* olthe authorities. I strongly berieve that a sherter cannot be the sorution, because there are too many dogs and

cars born eve^, ¡lar¡




in a tittle village in the mountains in the Caserta situarion ir ar ìhese doss (not identifiedr) n"r ,T;..,,. Italians normaty do not search for their missing dogs, they get another one...


Very best wishes frorn still warm and srrnny southern rtaly'

DorotÌtea Frr<,



nww.lega proan ima


You can read the results of Legaproanimale,s census on the RSpCA website:

lwu* rtlin-action/internationar,/r,vh


Lega Pro Animale running a

spay/neuter projecl

orveuuo*l¡tnzto.urorga nisatio ns

Egle Gerulaityte from the Horse Protection Society of

PROFILE he Horse Protection Society

Lithuania talks to us about the Society's work


Lithuania (ZGA) is a non-profit organisation that promotes equine welf,are and educates about equine care,

humane handling and behaviour. We also provide direct help for horses in need and a shelter for homeless horses.

All our work

is done by volunteers.

"We began operating in 2007 .q when current board members, a myself,Justina Vaitiekute and ià Gintare Dainel¡e, were notified .¡ .9 ola tragic situation in a rural region i ofeastern Lithuania. A local racehorse f breeder had left around 30 horses in I :! the woods during winter with no food = or water. By the time we arrived, eight horses had already died ofstarvation Our main aims and while others could barely walk - some goals include: were already unable to stand. o providing easily accessible, The horses were emaciated, Ë

dehydrated and swarming with both external and internal parasites. We rescued three of the worstlooking horses, two of which survived and are now healthy and happy in new homes. We find that only too often such cruelty cases are left unresolved and animals will continue to suffer unless something is done about it. We decided to formally establish the Horse Protection Society and have been dealing with equine cruelry cases ever since.

auctions involving members of the

public who would not otherwise be interested in equine welfare.

professional information on care, veterinary developments, humane training methods and welfare


advising on horse care and welfare,

referring people to specialists as appropriate (e.g. nutritionist, vet)


promoting kindness and compassion towards equines through education


lobbying for legislative change to better define concepts of animal abuse and cruelty, and for the imposition of stricter penalties, including animal confiscation in more severe cases

\z The first horses rescued by the Horse Protection Society of Lithuania.


horse and pony rescue and rehoming.

In the last five years, we have


and rehomed more than 20 horses and



E g

indirectly helped to rescue and rehome another 23. We have issued more than 70 press and TV releases regarding equine welfare and cruelty cases, organised more than l4 seminars and workshops on equine care, veterinary issues, behaviour and physiotherapy, and several charity events including music concerts and arts

We have also established agreements to cooperate with other national and international animal protection organisations, as well as with government bodies such as the National Food and Veterinary Institute and the Equestrian Federation of Lithuania.

Looking towards the future Our future aims and ambitions include Iarger, nationwide educational projects targeting young people, improvements to our shelter, professional volunteer training, and more seminars, workshops and courses on equine care for horse owners and breeders. We are also working towards improving media communications, corporate sponsorship and fundraising. We believe that prevention, understanding, empathy and kindness are key to animal protection and welfare and we are constantly giving 200 percent as we work towards these goals.

;:?:A \F\,\':i


i3P' A.l'iNl{.

War horses Ân I I \ovember 201 I RSPCA staff (Jgutt...d at the Animals in War

:¡ ?;

) An RSPCA inspector

working with

the Army Veterinary Corps, France circa




Memorial in London to remember those animals that helped the troops during

the wars and conflicts of the twentieth century. It is estimated that eight million horses died during the First World War,

1914-1918, ofwhich around 250,000 worked for the British Army on the Western Front in Europe. About one

million horses were in service at any one time for British and Commonwealth lorces around the world.

¿ e

At the outbreak of war in 1914, armies on all sides depended almost entirely upon horse power to move materials to and from the front lines. Most of the horses were used to transport

åi I -"! '





ammunition wagons and died in their


thousands alongside the soldiers, from



bullets, artillery fire, gas, fatigue and disease. By


li ir


almost 5,000 horses a I

day were being killed or declared unfit


The Animals in War

Memorial, Hyde Par( London.

for action.


1914, over one-third ofthe staff

of the RSPCA enlisted in the British

as possible,

Army, a number of them in the Army Veterinary Corps (AVC), and by 1915

ficr advancements in veterinary care

horses were being sold abroad for labour.

and medicines. The RSPCA played a

Sadly, only 60,000 horses actually made

this proportion had grown to one-

large role in this and veterinary practice

half. The Fund for Sick and Wounded

in the decade following the war greatly

it back to Britain. The success of the stage play War

improved as a result of the intensity of

Horse and

wartime experience.

of the same name, which came out in

Horses, created

equivalent of


1914, raised the

dl0 million

today to

provided many opportunities

government took measures to check that

the Steven Spielberg film

wounded horses. Worldwide, 2.5 million

Army had to decide what to do with

January 2012, both based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, has helped

animals were treated by the AVC, with

the thousands ofhorses it owned but

to stimulate renewed interest in our

80 percent being returned to duty.

no longer needed. The sale olunwanted

relationship with animals. In revisiting

horses to French and Belgian farmers

the horror of the First World War,

the quality of those men trained to look

for slaughter caused public outcry and

we have an opportunity to reflect on

after them, and the need to return as

the RSPCA threatened to withdraw its

our personal responsibilities towards our

many animals to active service as quickly

support for the military. Eventually, the

fellow creatures.

help alleviate the suffering of sick and

The huge number of horse casualties,

At the end of the war, the British

The Amersham challenge:, ":,



2008, the RSPCA encountered its worst-ever case of equine cruelty. The dead bodies and body parts of more than 30 equines were found scattered across Spindles Farm in Amersham, along with more than 100 surviving equines that were being kept in appalling conditions. trn

The owner of the farm,James Gray, '"vas sentenced to 24 w'eeks' imprisonment and ordered to pay d400,000 in costs. He charged along with four members of his famil,v with causing unnecessary suffering was disqualified from keeping horses for life. The other family members received to 40 equines and failing to meet the

first lighter sentences and were disqualifred from keeping horses for 10 years. trial r,vas held inJanuary 2009. It was The defendants all appealed against one ofthe longest cases ever prosecuted by the RSPCA with 50 days of evidence their convictions and sentences' and the case was reheard early in 2010' After and submissions. 34 days of evidence the majority of the Although rlv-o vets called by the defendants claimed that the equines had earlier court decisions were upheld' suddenly falĂŹen ill due to a strongyle James Gray absconded from court before sentence could be passed. As a worm infestation,James Gray and his result, thejudge ordered the horse trader son were both convicted ofcruelty. to serve the maximum sentence of six The remaining family members were convicted of failing to meet the welfare months' imprisonment and issued a warrant for his arrest. He was late r caught needs of the horses. James Gray was

welfare needs of another 114. The

and has served his sentence. Judge Christopher T1'rer said: "The court has listened to a horrendous case of animal cruelty - it is the worst case experienced by the RSPCA, on a scale that beggars belief. The business to which you were all party was concerned only with

profit. Animal welfare did not figure at all and you have shown no remorse." The judges in both hearings praised the professionalism, honesty and integrity of all the witnesses the RSPCA called

to give evidence, inciuding our own inspectors, vets and members olthe public. By any standards, it was a huge case to take on in terms of human and financial resources. Phil Wilson, RSPCA senior






prosecution case manager said: "We

first," said RSPCA

care for some of the horses. In addition

to be

to nursing the horses back to health,

Felledge supervisorJiriie Wulk r.

dedicated RSPCA staff spent two-and-a-

halfyears assessing and handling

"We watch them ridè änd test their knowledge of stable mafiágement, then

the animals.

we do a home visit to check out theii

"Each horse brought here is allocated


fields and fencing. Ifthey are suitable,

have outstanding costs orders against the

a groom who develops a bond with him

we'll introduce them to a horse and,

family that will cover our legal fees and there's a good chance we'll get them. This case has taken up a huge amount

or her and begins the slow process of

using our own in-tirn¿te knowledge

rebuilding their trust," said Felledge

the animal, we can gauge whether they

groom Rachael Duffy. "We get to know

are going to get on well. Horses are

of our commitment, time and eflort

each other really well through that

sensitive animals uttàtufter all we've been

already, but we will not give up."

one-to-one contact, and the horses'

through together, we want to be sure

personalities begin to come out as they

they're going to a home that is perfect for them."

Rehoming the Amersham equines

get stronger. Sometimes we'll need


to prepare them lor being ridden,

All the horses fromJames Gray's

Amazingly, all the rescued horses have

depending on their age, capability

farm are now settled into new homes

now been rehomed but returning them

and what they've been through, so

following an intensive rehoming

to health and finding new homes was

rehabilitation can take a while. The

no easy matter: Fortunately, other

more skills they have, the more choices

campaþ. More than 1,500 people applied to adopt one ofthe 37

organisations were willing to take many

they will have when it comes to finding

Amersham horses and ponies in RSPCA

of the animals, while RSPCA's Felledge

a new home."

care and the appeal was so successful

Equine Centre and Millbrook Animal Centre were able to provide expert

Rehoming has to be carefully handled. "Potential adopters come in

that new homes were also found for a

lurther B0 rescued horses and ponies.

è e

ú e =

RSPCA International News  

News from Horse Protection Society of Lithuania in RSPCA International News newsletter

RSPCA International News  

News from Horse Protection Society of Lithuania in RSPCA International News newsletter