Horses and ponies victims of deliberate cruelty daily throughout the summer, new RSPCA figures reveal

Horses and ponies victims of deliberate cruelty daily throughout the summer, new RSPCA figures reveal

New figures released by the RSPCA reveal that on average around one horse is harmed deliberately every day across the summer months in England and Wales.

Rescue of a skinny horse © RSPCADespite being a nation of animal lovers, 3,226 incidents of deliberate cruelty towards equines were recorded over the last five years by the RSPCA.

Summer is the busiest season investigating cruelty for the animal welfare charity and their frontline rescuers are bracing themselves for another busy time saving animals from harm as the number of calls looks set to increase over the next couple of months.

Dr Mark Kennedy, equine welfare expert at the RSPCA, said:

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.

We have seen incidents where horses have been bludgeoned to death, or have been beaten and left injured and bleeding at the side of the road. It is such unimaginable cruelty. That is why we have launched our Cancel Out Cruelty campaign this summer.

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

The RSPCA investigates hundreds of cases of deliberate cruelty to animals every year, just some examples of cruelty towards horses and ponies include:

  • A Shetland pony with a nasty bleeding leg injury was left at the side of a road to die in Worcestershire
  • A pony was bludgeoned to death in West Yorkshire
  • A cob riddled with maggots and flystrike was left in a field in Cheshire
  • A young Shetland pony was kicked and hit as his owners were 'training' him

84,000 calls to our cruelty line every month

4 incidents of cat cruelty a day © RSPCAThe charity's Cancel Out Cruelty campaign aims to help fund the frontline rescue work the RSPCA carries out every single day - helping animals that have been through trauma - rescue them, get them to a place of safety and rehabilitate them.

The RSPCA gets around 84,000 calls to its cruelty line every month and around 1,500 of those are about intentional cruelty. But 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 summer (June - August) in particular, the charity received 87 reports.

Incidents of intentional harm (by pet type)

Pet Total incidents 2016-2020 Total 2020 Summer 2020
Dog 63,881 7,691 2,053
Cat 14,825 1,641 (4 a day) 499
Equine 3,226 289 87
Rabbit 811 0 0


Cancel out cruelty

Cancel Out Cruelty © RSPCAThe RSPCA's rescue teams need support to stay out on the frontline as the only charity rescuing animals and investigating cruelty:

  • £5 could help towards surgical face masks and gloves for our veterinary surgeons
  • £10 could help towards funding a digital thermometer for an RSPCA vet
  • £15 could help towards food supplements to help bring animals in our care back to health
  • £25 could help pay towards a horse in our care's farrier treatment

You can donate to the Cancel Out Cruelty campaign and help us continue to rescue animals in need.

You can also help Cancel Out Cruelty by:

Or you can pledge to help animals in other ways, such as learning more about your pets' needs, or learning how to help wildlife.