News release shows failings of horse passport system
- A Government committee (EFRA) released a report in February 2012 on the trade in horses which showed that the horse passport system was not working. It is a legal requirement to microchip and passport all horses and ensure no animal with any dangerous veterinary drugs in their system enters the food chain. The RSPCA estimate that more than 70 per cent of horses coming into our care do not have a microchip or passport. The recent horsemeat crisis shows the mislabelling and lack of enforcement in the system and could mean horses illegally entering the food chain. Take action for horses!
The RSPCA together with all the major horse charities released a report highlighting that we took in twice as many horses in 20011/12 as we did the previous year.
We are now running out of space and with some 450 in RSPCA accommodation have little spare capacity. However we have identified over 6,000 horses in England and Wales that are at risk of not being cared for properly. If many of these horses have to be handed over to the RSPCA we will not be able to cope.
The number of welfare problems with horses is increasing. In the past four years we have given out more than 20,000 pieces of advice to horse owners and the number of incidents that our inspectors have opened cases on has risen by over 50 per cent since 2009. For more information read the report:
Left on the verge: the approaching Equine Crisis in England and Wales (PDF 1,364KB)
In 2012 the RSPCA rehomed over 300 horses, the most ever in a year. But we accepted over 750 horses. So we still have too many horses in our care. If you’re considering getting a horse, please rehome or foster an RSPCA horse who is in desperate need of a home.
Urgent action is needed!
The Governments in Wales and England need to take a proactive response to the horse crisis and deal with the numbers of horses being imported, the numbers being abandoned and the lack of control in the passport system.
What the Westminster Government can do
- Introduce legislation targeting 'fly grazing' (abandoning horses on private land without permission) as no existing laws adequately address the problem.
- Introduce legislation or mechanisms to better link horses to owners so enforcement agencies and landowners can take action where needed.
- Increased intelligence-led enforcement of horse imports and exports.
- Review the Tripartite agreement that allows the import and export of vulnerable horses and ponies into and out of Britain from Ireland and France.
- Encourage responsible breeding through guidance and the facts on the unprofitability of the lower end of the horse market.
What can I do to help?
- Take action - Email Defra and ask them to take urgent action!
- It can cost more than £5,000 to rehabilitate each horse or pony that has been taken into our care because of cruelty or neglect. Help us to help them by making a donation online today.
- If you are a horse owner or know one who need help, please contact one of the RSPCA for advice before the situation escalates into a welfare issue.
- If you're in a position to take in a horse, please consider adopting a horse in need...