More than 8,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to “address the UK horse crisis”, prompted by heartbreaking pictures of a foal lying dead in the mud.
The campaigners behind the move are hoping for at least 10,000 signatures by Friday (22 April) when they are due to meet MP Philip Hammond, as this is the number required for government to respond to the petition.
The woman who started it, who does not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said: “It’s disgusting that this is happening.
“We’re in an affluent area, but we’re overrun with fly-grazing; we’ve saved more than 200 horses in the last year.
“We started rescuing them last winter when it was very wet and one field near us had more than 70 horses in it – 22 got out alive.”
The campaigner started the petition in January but had only had about 1,000 signatures by last Saturday (16 April), when she found the dead foal.
Since she shared the picture on social media, more than 7,000 more people have signed.
She said: “The poor foal needs more dignity than that, I hated posting the picture, but look what it’s done – and what it could do.
“We found another one dead two weeks ago, in thick mud, we think they may have been unable to get up and drowned.”
The petition states: “Government must do more: euthanising 50% of ‘abandoned’ horses is not the answer – the ‘owners’ must be held accountable and prosecuted BEFORE euthanising is the only option.”
The campaigner said she and her fellow activists want the government to be “more proactive” to help combat the “crisis”.
She added: “Even with the dead foals, we couldn’t do anything as it wasn’t our land.
“I just want to get those signatures up to 10,000.
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“We have horses’ bodies dumped on roads and in ditches and people argue for weeks about removing them.
“They deserve better than this.”
To sign the petition, click here.