Horsemart under fire for ‘irresponsible’ marketing

  • An online horse sales newsletter suggesting that people should consider buying multiple horses has come under fire from equine charities.

    Horsemart sent out a newsletter on 20 December titled: “We understand it’s hard to have just one…”

    On opening the newsletter, the email continued: “That’s why you can browse through our horses by price, making it even easier to find the perfect horse for you this December. This means you can buy a couple (or even five!!)”

    However, Horses4Homes contacted H&H, concerned that Horsemart was promoting buying several horses based on cost, branding it “irresponsible”.

    “The message implies the only factor limiting someone’s ability to acquire more horses is the cost, and it flippantly encourages people to buy more,” said Rebecca Evans of the charity. “This will only exacerbate the UK welfare crisis.”

    World Horse Welfare agreed.

    “Obviously this is not a responsible way to promote buying horses,” the charity’s Tony Tyler told H&H.

    “Purchasers of one horse, never mind five, should not be motivated by bargains, as there is no getting away from the fact that horse ownership is an expensive business.”

    This is not the first time Horsemart has come under scrutiny for irresponsible marketing. A mailshot sent out in 2012 advertised cheap horses for Christmas presents.

    The headline ran: “A horse for Christmas, why not?” (news, 8 November 2012), and it listed three horses for sale under £500 “for those daughters who are constantly begging for a horse”.

    At the time a spokesman for the company said the email was “an administrative error”.

    Lee Hackett, of the British Horse Society, said the organisation was “really disappointed” and would never recommend taking on more than one horse at a time.

    “All too often this is when charities have to come in and pick up the pieces,” he added.

    “To market horses similarly to the way supermarkets advertise bulk buying offers is not acceptable, and totally undermines the messages that charities are trying to put out.”

    H&H contacted Horsemart but received no response.

    Ref: H&H 22 January, 2015

    You may like...