A cavalcade of horses and riders clattered through central London to parliament in an attempt to prevent future equine suffering.
Equestrian legend Jane Holderness-Roddam, Radio 2 DJ and World Horse Welfare patron Sarah Cox and equestrian influencer Esme Higgs (This Esme) were among those who rode from South Carriage Drive to the Houses of Parliament, going through Hyde Park and along The Mall en route.
The aim was to press for progress on the Kept Animals Bill, which was introduced to parliament in June 2021 but has still not become law despite cross-party support. The bill would ban live export of animals for slaughter or fattening.
“Almost 100 years ago World Horse Welfare was founded by the inimitable Ada Cole, and stopping the live export of horses to slaughter was her founding principle,” said the charity’s chief executive Roly Owers. “We have the chance to stop this practice once and for all, but time is running out.
“As the country prepares for a general election, probably next year, the bill will be put aside unless it is adopted soon. Without doubt, our aim here today is to raise awareness in the minds of the MPs in the building behind me and make sure that this opportunity is not lost. Donations to our appeal will help ensure we can continue to tirelessly chase an end to live export to slaughter.”
The ride marked the World Horse Welfare #StopHorseSmuggling appeal, to help “finish what Ada Cole started and ensure that no horse from Britain is transported abroad live for slaughter”.
Sara Cox said: “My ride today, Onyx, was brilliant, taking all the people and traffic in the city in his stride. It was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to see the name World Horse Welfare and so many people saw us ride through. A great charity doing such an important job, it was wonderful to be a part of it.”
The horses were supplied by Carol Andrews, owner of Wimbledon Village Stables. Flanked by mounted police, they came to a halt in Victoria Gardens South just outside the Houses of Parliament.
Jane Holderness-Roddam said: “It’s so important we all support this essential bill to prevent more animal suffering, and I hope that by taking part in this incredible Ride to Parliament, it will bring it to people’s attention.”
A banner in the park where the horses stopped read: “Have you seen the Bill?”
“Neither have we,” the riders replied.
Esme Higgs said: “Today was a great day, a great ride, with a great charity for a great cause. Nobody wants to see the live export of horses for slaughter, we all want to support these beautiful and sensitive animals. Anything we can do to increase awareness brings us a few steps closer to getting the Kept Animals Bill passed, and a stop to this barbaric end for our precious horse friends.”
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