The UK’s biggest equine welfare organisations are looking at how cases of suspected equine abuse are handled, in a review convened by the Princess Royal.

The inquiry was sparked by the rescue of 111 horses, ponies and donkeys from Spindles Farm in Amersham, Buckinghamshire last month.

Sixteen organisations — including the RSPCA, the Horse Trust, the British Horse Society (BHS) and the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) — have been invited to plan how cases should be managed in future.

The BHS and the Horse Trust asked the Princess Royal to convene the review due to her support for equine charities.

Each organisation will list pressing issues, from which common themes will be decided and addressed.

Horse Trust chief executive Paul Jepson said: “It appears the welfare system is not working. Currently we can speculate about markets, transport and neglect but have no means of quantifying the problems or finding out how they occur.”

Lee Hackett from the BHS added: “We are trying to look at the best ways for welfare officers to work together so we can prevent future problems.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (28 February, ’08)