THE RSPCA is appealing for vital donations to help it prepare for an influx of horses and ponies desperately in need of help, as cases increase in Lancashire.
In 2019, the charity received reports of more than 5,236 incidents involving horses in the north of England, 632 of which were in Lancashire.
Shockingly, since the coronavirus lockdown started in March, they have received 59 more reports across Lancashire.
Christine McNeil, the charity’s National Equine Inspectors Co-Ordinator said: “This is a truly worrying time for equine charities - we still haven’t got a handle on the repercussions of the current horse crisis, and it now looks like the worst is yet to come.
“In April 2011, before the effects of the financial recession had hit, the RSPCA had 290 horses in its care, already more than our official stables could house.
“By May 2012, the number of horses in our care had leapt to 600. Fast-forward to today, and we’re caring for 927 horses - that’s three times the amount since the crisis hit, and we strongly fear that the impact will be even worse this time round.
“With such a huge number of horses in our care, and so many in private boarding, at great cost, we have already had to adapt how we try to help as many horses as we can. For example, several ‘herds’ of horses in need are being cared for in situ with our officers visiting regularly to feed and care for them, until we can find spaces in one of our centres for them, or funds to transport them to private boarding.”
The current horse crisis is thought to have been sparked by continued overbreeding, coupled with falling demand for some types of horses.
Threats of a financial recession this year has led to fears that irresponsible horse breeders will continue to breed their animals in a bid to turn a quick profit and that existing horse owners will struggle financially to keep their animals and cover vet bills. This may lead to animals suffering, and some may even resort to abandoning their animals out of desperation.
The charity spends approximately £5,200 a year for the care of each horse taken in – more than £4.8million each year.
Christine added: “The public’s help is absolutely vital to keep the RSPCA afloat during this extremely difficult time. We can’t stress how much we need loving homes for our horses and ponies, and we are urging those with experience of horses to please consider rehoming one of our wonderful rescue horses.”
To help the RSPCA keep rescuing horses, providing them with essential veterinary care, rehabilitation, and finding them new homes through these unprecedented times, go to rspca.org.uk/covid