Hope from pain as healthy foal born to ‘smuggled’ pregnant mare rescued at Dover

  • A healthy foal has been born to one of the 26 “smuggled” horses who were rescued in Dover by World Horse Welfare.

    The charity believes the horses were to be taken out of the UK to a European slaughterhouse. The mixed group included elderly animals, pregnant mares and youngstock. They were found in an overcrowded and filthy vehicle, with many unfit for their intended journey and seven undeclared to officials.

    Daisy, one of the five pregnant mares in the group, safely delivered a colt on Friday (12 April).

    The new arrival has been named Pompey, after the port of Portsmouth, to highlight World Horse Welfare’s continued efforts to stop illicit movements of horses in and out of the UK.

    “Pompey is a bundle of joy,” said Holly Roe, senior groom at the charity’s Hall Farm in Norfolk.

    “It fills my heart to see them relaxed and happy here now, with a secure future ahead of them.

    “While they will remain in our ownership for the rest of their lives, our aim is for them to find loving new homes, although it will be months before Pompey is weaned. Such a different outcome – I can’t bear to think about what their future might have been.”

    Daisy, a six-year-old mare, was identified through her microchip and replacement passport, but the only available record of her is that she – along with eight of the other 26 horses – had been bought at an auction in the northwest of England, a week before they were found at Dover.

    But Daisy and all the declared horses on board were travelling on EU documentation, which stated their place of origin as the Republic of Ireland.

    A spokesman for the charity said: “World Horse Welfare believes these horses had never set foot outside of Great Britain and by declaring them as an EU-to-EU movement and using GB as a land bridge, the illicit traders knew that they would undergo less stringent checks and could drive out of the green lane when they reached a European port.”

    “Pompey’s poignant birth underscores the harsh realities faced by vulnerable animals caught in this illegal trade in horses. Transported for days without rest in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, these horses suffer from a lack of basic necessities such as food and water, endure rough handling, and are exposed to increased risks of disease and injury.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits. 

    You may like...