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In this Edition...
∑ 34 horses dead, 111 rescued in UK
Police and equine charities rescue operation
∑ Equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers’ survey
∑ Equine Hoofcare Code of Practice offered for public consultation
∑ Velvet rescued from stream
∑ Timetable of other events
the Strangles Hold - campaign update
Sources of Help
|One of the rescued horses
One of the largest rescue operations on record in the UK took place on Wednesday
9 January 2007 when 111 horses, ponies and donkeys were removed from Spindels Farm near Amersham, Buckinghamshire. 31 horses were found dead and decomposing; three others were put down on the advice of vets.
The operation was coordinated by Thames Valley Police, Trading Standards and
the RSPCA with help from the Horse Trust, the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), Redwings and The Blue
Cross. The situation has been described as shocking, horrific and beyond comprehension by all involved.
|Now in the safe care of the ILPH
Thames Valley Police report that James Gray has been charged with criminal damage and assault on a police officer. He was due in court on
14 January; however the case has been adjourned.
He is now due to appear at Aylesbury Magistrates' Court on 4 February at 10am.
The case was adjourned following the request by Mr Gray and this was granted
by the court. Mr Gray is currently under investigation for offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
A spokesman for Buckinghamshire Trading Standards said an investigation into what
was discovered at Spindles Farm would be "very quick".
The 111 equines are recuperating with the help of horse charities across the
country. However this huge number of equines puts enormous pressure on the charities
and they are appealing for donations and help.
Overwhelming response from the equestrian community
Operation Esther was launched after a Horse and Hound Online Member (Michelle
Mortimer) placed a plea on the site’s forum for people to give up a luxury and donate that money to the charities caring
for the horses and ponies rescued. Within a matter of hours, Michelle’s
appeal became a nationwide movement that has gone from strength to strength as the days have passed. It was named Operation Esther after the youngest donkey rescued. Esther
and her mum Mary were taken to Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Norfolk, where she was given her name.
Operation Esther’s mission is to gather together donations of money,
feed, bedding and other essential items so that these may be transported to the charities concerned on Convoy Day, 26th January
Operation Esther is a voluntary organisation set up to help Redwings Horse
Sanctuary, The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) and The Horse Trust. None
of the charities are directly involved with Operation Esther but they have expressed heartfelt thanks and appreciation for
the efforts of everyone taking part.
Operation Esther has really taken off, explains Michelle Mortimer: “Everybody
involved with Operation Esther and the collection of donations has really taken it to their hearts and we are all very grateful.
It is brilliant to be able to help the charities who took in not only these equines,
but take in rescued horses, ponies and donkeys all year round.”
There are now numerous collection points across the UK and details of those
can be found on the relevant page of the Operation Esther website.
Find out more about Operation Esther
Read the Horse & Hound Forum temporary
board dedicated to the Amersham horse rescue and Operation Esther at: http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/postlist.php/Cat/0/Board/operationesther
Tony gets his running shoes on for Amersham horses
Spurred on by the shocking, recent horse welfare case in Amersham, International
League for the Protection of Horses’ (ILPH) Deputy Chief Executive Tony Tyler is donning his running shoes to take part
in the Edinburgh Marathon in aid of the ILPH.
“Having worked at the ILPH for the past 8 years, I have seen some horrendous
welfare cases brought into our Centres,” says Tony.
“The most recent one at Spindles Farm, Amersham has shocked all of us. The
ILPH took in 11 of these horses and it will cost many thousands of pounds to rehabilitate and care for them over the next
year alone. Sadly this is not the isolated incident people might think. We have other multiple cases being investigated and
dealt with throughout the year.
“I have decided to run this year's Edinburgh Marathon to raise funds to help
ensure the ILPH is able to continue its vital work. I am training hard to get ready for the 26.2 mile course and would welcome
any sponsorship, however small!”
The Edinburgh Marathon takes place on Sunday 25th May 2008. Anyone wishing to sponsor
Tony can do so securely online at www.justgiving.com/tonytyler
The British Horse Society bites back at dog attacks
In a separate initiative The British Horse Society would like to gather more information
regarding the scale of the problem of dog attacks following a number of reports of poorly controlled dogs interacting negatively
with horses made to its Access and Safety departments.
Director of Access Safety and Welfare, Mark Weston, said: "We would encourage anyone
who has suffered as the result of a dog attack to fill in the form on our website, so that we can gauge how widespread this
The information gathered by the survey will form the basis of a guidance note and,
if dog attacks are a large-scale issue, an awareness campaign.
The form can be found at
dental technicians and barefoot trimmers’ survey
equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers work in the industry? The first
online survey into the industry now aims to find out.
Skills Council is carrying out the survey on its website to find out the numbers working as paraprofessionals, their background
and the challenges they face.
and Professions Allied to Veterinary Science Industry Partnership Manager, Lisa Jarvis said:
“We estimate that around 500 dental technicians and barefoot trimmers work in the UK, but it is an emerging area
and very little is known about it.”
is an essential way to overcome challenges and plan effectively for the future. As
the representative body for the equine industry, Lantra works to ensure that training and qualifications meet the needs of
employers and industry. It also represents the industry at government level to
shape funding policy, so that areas where there are skills gaps and a training need are prioritised.
Lisa adds: “In order for Lantra to work with the para-professionals and Defra to develop
frameworks for training and qualifications we urgently need equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers to take part in
questions are grouped into eight main themes:
Current numbers employed in the
Entry route into current job role
(i.e. school, college, university)
Training route used (length of
training, type of training, accreditation)
Predicted numbers entering the
Job roles – tasks, competencies
Business – number of clients
and horses treated
Membership of organisations
Links to other professionals (e.g.
veterinary surgeons, farriers)
If you are
a paraprofessional, or a client or colleague of a paraprofessional, please take the time to log onto the business section
of the Lantra website www.lantra.co.uk/businesses/equine/ to take part.
would prefer to receive a copy of the survey by email, please contact Lantra Connect on tel: 0845 707 8007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date is 31st March 2008.
Equine Hoofcare Code of Practice offered for public consultation
In 2006 the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) set up a Sub Committee to look
at barefoot trimming.
Its purpose was to address the following criteria:
• The Philosophy of Shoeing
and Barefoot Trimming
• Provision of Farriery
and Barefoot Trimming Services
A Code of Practice for Equine Hoofcare has been agreed with registered farriers,
veterinary surgeons, welfare agencies and industry professionals and is now offered for wider public consultation.
Details of the consultation can be found at:
The consultation period is six weeks and closes on 30th April 2008.
A list of organisations, consultees and Pledges of Support will be made available
on the NEWC website when the consultation is complete.
The National Equine Welfare Council is made up of 60
equine welfare organisations including Animal Health Trust, British Horse Society, Blue Cross, Donkey Sanctuary, The Horse
Trust, International League for the Protection of Horses, National Pony Society, Redwings Horse Sanctuary & RSPCA.
The President is Dr Harry Greenway with Vice Presidents
Dr Elisabeth Svendsen and Mrs Lesley Barwise-Munro. The Chairman is Martin
Find out more from http://www.newc.co.uk
Velvet rescued from stream
A 31-year-old New Forest mare is lucky to be alive after lying trapped in a
ditch for a number of hours.
Fire crews from Basingstoke and Eastleigh fire stations were called to reports
of a large horse trapped in a deep ditch just before midday on Saturday, January 12.
They arrived at the farm in Goddards Lane, Sherfield-on-Loddon, to find a 13.2
hand, 350 kg, New Forest mare, called Velvet, exhausted and lying in a cold stream.
Rural Safety Officer Anton Phillips was also called to attend. Watch
Manager Phillips said: "It appears that Velvet may have stumbled through a hedge and fell five to six feet into the ditch,
which has a stream running through it. It was initially thought that she may have broken her pelvis, but further examination
revealed she hadn't."
Fire crews then set about rigging up a harness and using a tele-handler managed
to ease the ageing horse out of the water.
Watch Manager Phillips added, "Velvet was beginning to suffer from hypothermia
and as soon as she was out we covered her in blankets to keep her warm. Soon she was back on her feet once again. When you
consider that in human terms, Velvet is about 80 years old, this was an excellent result."
Watch Manager Anton Phillips is one of three Animal Rescue Advisers who work
for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. The specialist team are leading the way
in animal rescue work in the UK with other fire and rescue service’s learning from their example.
At present the Hampshire Animal Rescue Team is made up of three advisers, who
assist at roughly 300 incidents a year. But their role is not solely responding
to incidents they are also heavily involved in education and the development of new rescue techniques and promoting animal
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service - 13 January 2008
Emergency Services Protocol
∑ Guidelines to help the emergency services cope better with equine incidents were launched in May 2007.
∑ The guidelines aim to ensure that any horse involved in an accident receives proper care as quickly as possible. They
cover everything from how a 999 call should be dealt with to advice on identifying horses and coping with a large animal in
∑ An Emergency Services Protocol Fund has also been set up by the BHS and BEVA, to help minimise delays for injured horses
receiving veterinary care when their owners cannot be traced. The fund will also pay for rescue training and specialist lifting
and rescue equipment for the emergency services.
∑ To donate to the fund, contact BEVA (tel: 01638 723555).
Read more from Horse & Hound Online at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=119785
Get detailed information on the Emergency
Services Protocol from a leaflet that can be downloaded from
Myth of the Month
The HSE’s initiaitive, to promote
that the sensible management of risks protects people from real harm and suffering, but avoids bureaucratic back covering,
has taken a further step forward. HSE is running a "Myth of the Month"
campaign aimed at highlighting some of the more popular stories of health and safety, which do not actually represent the
See the latest myth of the month at http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/index.htm
A previous myth of the month, pertinent to the horse industry – May’s Myth: Risk assessments must always be long and complex can be found
Timetable of other events
Animals Act 1971 (Amendment)
Bill 2007 - 2008
Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill) introduced by Stephen Crabb MP
2nd Reading in the Commons
14 March 2008
A Bill to amend the Animals Act 1971 to limit strict liability for
damage done by animals
FEI Eventing Safety Forum
19 January 2008
To discuss safety across the sport.
National bodies from all eventing nations, including the British Equestrian
Federation (BEF), will be invited to attend and make presentations on safety, along with course-designers, trainers, riders,
officials, equipment manufacturers and vets.
British Equine Veterinary
Details of continuing professional development (CPD) courses and meetings for 2008
Various during 2008
If you know of any forthcoming equestrian health, safety or welfare related events please contact Riding Safely
Breaking the Strangles Hold - campaign update
International Strangles Event
On May 28th, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies will be hosting a meeting
of veterinary specialists from all over the world to discuss recent scientific advances in the development of preventative
measures for Strangles.
Strangles is the most commonly diagnosed infectious disease of horses worldwide.
However, the end may be in sight, as the Animal Health Trust (AHT) has teamed up with the British Horse Society to develop
a blood test and vaccine, to test for and prevent respectively, the disease. The campaign has a £250,000 target, and has already
managed to raise £100,000.
The conference, to be held in the School at the University of Edinburgh, will comprise
of a series of talks from various specialists from all over the world, including four of the research team from the AHT: Andrew
Waller, Jeremy Kemp-Symonds, Richard Newton and ZoŽ Mitchell.
Tickets for this conference, which includes lunch and coffee, are £65. Please follow
the link below for further information, the day’s programme and booking form to ensure you get your place!
You can also follow the links from the Science section of the AHT website for more information on the disease itself and the work we are doing towards the development of
About strangles - When a horse contracts the disease,
it initially loses its energy and appetite. Swelling and abscesses occur around the throat. The horse then finds it hard to
breathe and swallow – as it is being strangled (hence the name Strangles). When the abscesses rupture, in some cases
other horses can be infected. If the abscesses spread to other parts of the horse's body, the condition is usually fatal. See the strangles information leaflet www.aht.org.uk/strangles.org/strangle_leaflet.pdf and the strangles campaign website www.strangles.org/
The Animal HealthTrust - The AHT is a charity dedicated
to improving the health of dogs, cats and horses by addressing the problems of disease and injury. It achieves this by providing
specialist clinical services for animals in need and advancing veterinary science. Even if your horse or pet has never been
treated directly by the AHT, it will have benefited from the results of the Trust’s work. See www.aht.org.uk
The British Horse Society - the UK's biggest horse
charity with a membership of more than 100,000, held a Strangles Awareness Week from 15-21 May last year (2006), and BHS Scotland
has been lobbying hard in the Scottish Parliament for new measures to help to slow the spread of Strangles in Scotland.
∑ What you must do
The Health and Safety Executive list
10 key things you must do if you are in business. Are you doing them all? Check them out and get further help from http://www.hse.gov.uk/smallbusinesses/must.htm
and Safety Guidance for Inspections of Horse Riding Establishments and Livery Yards
Published in May 2006, this document
sets out current good practice for environmental health practitioners; licensing officers; vets and animal wardens and also
provides a useful tool for both owners and managers of horse riding establishments and livery yards.
Supported by the riding industry’s
major stakeholders, the guidance aims to fill a gap in existing literature and also provides useful checklists necessary to
minimise the risk associated with such premises.
It recognises the need to strike a
practical balance to reduce hazards without hindering the sustainability of the riding industry.
Download from: http://www.cieh.org/library/Knowledge/Health_and_safety/guidancelivery_3.pdf
“Safety with Horses”
with Horses is a cost effective, award winning equine health and safety training programme, leading to an accredited Vocational
2 programme is suitable for all those involved in any equine related activity including full or part-time students, clients,
trainees, school work placements as well as those employed working with horses.
more about the Safety with Horses training programme at: http://www.warkscol.ac.uk/equistudy/equistudy/coursepage.asp?courseid=9
Sources of Help
Workplace Health Connect
in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive, Workplace Health Connect is a government funded service providing confidential,
practical and free advice to small businesses on workplace health and safety, management of sickness absence and return to
more from http://www.workplacehealthconnect.co.uk/
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