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Increased welfare presence at Appleby Horse Fair

The RSPCA has increased its presence at Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria this year, with 31 inspectors due to be on-site as part of a round-the-clock welfare team.

Four World Horse Welfare field officers will also be at the fair which opens today and runs until next Wednesday (9 June) and there will be five vets on site, four from Redwings and one from the Donkey Sanctuary.

RSPCA Chief Inspector Rob Melloy, said: “Last year we had 23 staff at Appleby. That was double the number we had the year before and we were very pleased with how it went, but it’s still a very small amount considering how many people and animals attend.

“This is a big event involving large numbers of horses, and other animals, and whilst the vast majority of people at the fair treat them very well, there is a hardened minority that cause problems. We want to do everything possible to ensure they can be dealt with.”

In 2007 a horse was drowned in the river at the fair and last year a man was stabbed. A horse was also found with serious injuries.

The annual horse fair attracts around 30,000 and 1,500 caravans and horse drawn vehicles to the area.

Cumbria and Durham police forces have warned drivers on the A66 to watch out for horse drawn transport in the run up to the fair, in an attempt to cut accidents on the road.

Two people have died and another has been serious injured in collisions involving horse drawn vehicles on the A66 in the past seven years.

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