Horses have been seized from a travellers’ site after photos of a foal wearing a bit sparked outrage.
Members of the public urged the RSPCA to intervene after the images went viral on social media early last week.
The charity revealed on Friday (25 March) that a number of horses from the travellers’ site in Esholt — including the pictured foal — had been taken into RSPCA care.
“The RSPCA attended Esholt travellers’ site again on Thursday (24 March) with a vet and three young horses have been seized by police on veterinary advice and placed in RSPCA care, pending the outcome of our investigation,” read a statement.
“They are now in a place of safety, receiving specialist care.
“The young horse pictured in the photographs is amongst the horses that have been removed.
“We share the serious concerns about the welfare of the horses and have been regularly checking on their welfare for some time.”
The shocking photos showed a foal wearing a rope halter and a bit, tied to a roller, and standing on rubbish-strewn land by a barbed wire fence.
“Contrary to the postings on social media, we do not think it is okay for any equine to be broken in like the images being circulated this week show,” the statement continued.
“We will always investigate any concerns about animal welfare raised to us, regardless of who they are about.”
It added that no further information is available as the RSPCA investigation is ongoing.
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On Tuesday (22 March) an RSPCA spokesman told H&H its officers were “yet to see” a young horse as depicted in the photographs, but had serious concerns for its welfare.
“The RSPCA has been to this travellers’ site several times and is checking on the welfare of the animals there regularly — most recently yesterday (Monday 21 March) — and will be making further visits over the next few days,” he said last week.
He added they were reviewing all new information and were taking the case “extremely seriously”.