More evidence of the appalling increase in equine neglect has emerged, with the release of RSCPA figures.

Last year, the society rescued 1,526 horses compared with 901 in 2012 — a 69% increase.

World Horse Welfare saw an even higher rise — a staggering 73% more than the year before. The charity took in 325 horses in 2013, compared with 185 in 2012.

“Last year wasn’t a good one for welfare,” said the RSPCA’s David Bowles.

The RSPCA confirmed that currently it is not carrying out any culling, but in the future it may become the only option for local authorities.

“Sometimes we may want to take horses in, but just can’t and have to try and make arrangements for them to receive care in situ,” added a spokesman.

World Horse Welfare’s Tony Tyler agreed.  “Dealing with 62 arrivals in one go presented a very significant challenge. We had to hire temporary staff, and adopted a field isolation system. The herd has now been split down into small groups and are being handled to get them ready for rehoming.”

He added that the numbers rehomed have not kept up with those coming in, and the charity found homes for 12% fewer horses last year.

“We will be making some changes to our rehoming scheme to help get more out to homes,” he said.

This article was first published n Horse & Hound magazine (13 March 2014)

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