A group of horses being fly-grazed in Berkshire have been removed by equine charities.
Earlier this week (Monday 23 March) a Horse & Hound reader called for more public awareness of fly-grazing after a dumped mare was put down on the land near Bracknell (pictured below).
The RSPCA told H&H that initial diagnosis suggested that the mare had been suffering from colic.
Two horses remained on the land — but on Wednesday (25 March) they were seized by the RSPCA.
“The RSPCA has now removed the remaining three horses from fields off Binfield Road,” an RSPCA spokesman told H&H.
“In the meantime, if anyone has any information about the owner of these horses, they should contact the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 123 8018.”
The two youngsters are now at one of World Horse Welfare’s rescue and rehoming centres.
“I visited the site on a number of occasions to establish whether the owner was taking responsibility for the horses, but their condition had deteriorated significantly in recent weeks,” said World Horse Welfare field officer Nick White, who worked with the RSPCA.
“We were very relieved that on our latest visit the vet felt that legally we were in a strong position to remove them on welfare grounds. The colt foal was very underweight, had a parasitic infestation, lice and was extremely frightened — he clearly hasn’t been handled at all.
“The yearling was in a similar condition, but had more confidence. In an effort to find food the group had been stripping bark off trees (pictured below). Initially they were taken to a holding yard close to the site to provide them with warmth, as well as much-need food and water.
“They are now safely in the care of our grooms and, while it’s still early days, we very much hope that they will make a good recovery given proper care.”
Thanks to the new fly-grazing bill, which received Royal Assent this week (26 March), private and public landowners will soon have greater powers to tackle dumped horses.
There are estimated to be around 3,000 fly-grazed horses in England.
The updated law will require landowners to keep any horses placed on their land for only four working days, as opposed to the current two weeks, and will allow more options to dispose of the horses besides public sale, such as gifting them to a charity, selling them privately or euthanasia.