Farrier struck off for ‘appalling’ violence on horse he was shoeing

  • A farrier who was caught on CCTV committing “appalling” violence on a horse he was shoeing has been struck off.

    The Farriers Registration Council (FRC) met virtually to discuss the conduct of Michael Francis McNamara of Saltash, Cornwall, on 8 October.

    McNamara had pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty offence, on 22 August last year, at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court.

    A spokesman for the RSPCA, which brought the prosecution, said McNamara could be seen on CCTV “kicking the horse on the side on at least two occasions, before punching the horse in the face, and hitting the horse in the side multiple times with the end of the handles of long metal pliers”.

    You may find the following video distressing:

    He was given a community order, with a curfew and electronic tagging, and disqualified for three years from keeping horses.

    The FRC disciplinary committee “viewed evidence showing Mr McNamara punching the horse, kicking it twice and striking it with a pointed metal object (a tool) on 18 occasions,” an FRC spokesman said. “Evidence from a veterinary surgeon stated that the conduct was not an acceptable way of reprimanding a horse, and noted that the horse had in any event not deserved a reprimand. The veterinary surgeon stated that Mr McNamara’s conduct would have caused unnecessary suffering to the horse, both physically and mentally, by way of pain, inflammation, fear and anxiety.

    “The disciplinary committee was satisfied that Mr McNamara’s conduct fell well below the standards expected of a registered farrier and constituted serious misconduct in a professional respect.

    “In considering sanction, the committee noted that there had been a serious departure from professional standards, the offence involved violence towards a horse, and the committee found some evidence of attitudinal problems because Mr McNamara failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the criminal conviction in the context of the farriery profession.”

    The committee set a time of two and a half years before McNamara can apply to be restored to the register, and that he would need to “persuade a disciplinary committee that it it is safe and appropriate to restore him to the register”.

    Both findings and sanction are subject to appeal.

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    FRC chairman David Hall said: “The conduct displayed by Mr McNamara was in every way appalling and has inflicted damage on the reputation of the profession of farriery. Together with our colleagues in the profession, the regulator will redouble its efforts to ensure high standards of equine welfare, such that the public may have confidence in registered farriers and the important work they do.”

    McNamara told H&H last year that the horse’s behaviour was not shown in the video, and the incident ended with “cuddles”.

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