‘Hope for Horses’ to protest at Westminster on 16th April to highlight Horses plight and legislation failings
2014 is the Year of the Horse – but rather than us worshipping the amazing role horses have played in our history or admiring their sporting achievements, tenacity, grace, elegance, dedication to us and appreciating the joy they bring to millions of us 2014 actually brings a welfare crisis for horses in the UK
This is why Leicestershire farrier Mark Johnson is rallying supporters to march on Westminster and highlight the need for change by DEFRA on 16th April at 12.00 in Westminster's Old Palace Yard. Mark and supporters are demanding that DEFRA stop relying on a charity (the RSPCA) to tackle the horse welfare crisis and come up with an enforcement process that works.
Abandoned horses wander over school playing fields and dual carriageways
Skeletal horses left to die in barns
A pony dumped to die by the roadside
A pony dumped in a canal with its legs tied together
A pony tethered on a busy roundabout while the council do nothing
A neglected mare close to death in running water, her companions grazing among corpses and bones
A horse found dismembered in plastic bags
Horse welfare organisations warned of the impending crisis*. The recession, horse-meat scandal and over-breeding combined to drive the value of horses down, and the cost of keeping horses, up. Low value horses are now worth almost nothing. It can be cheaper to let sick and injured horses die rather than call the vet. A horse may be worth less than a bale of hay - so it doesn't get fed. Corpses are left to rot in fields. The high cost of euthanasia and disposal brings dumping of dead and dying horses in alleys, gateways, fields and gardens. And be warned – if someone dumps a dead horse on YOUR property, you have to deal with it.
The crisis became real for Leicestershire farrier Mark Johnson Dip WCF when in February 2014 he discovered a little mare (Hope) dying from neglect, and as her heart stopped beating he promised that she would not die in vain. His Facebook “Fosse Park” campaign gathered 44,000 followers and it took one month of pressure on the RSPCA and other agencies before the herd was moved to safer ground and fed. Then another major story of neglect in Anglesey in March - Mark Johnson photographing horses starved to the point of death while their skeletal companions looked on – all of which were supposedly “monitored” by the RSPCA
Mark has formed alliances with other champions of horse welfare – such as Sue Burton of Remus Horse Sanctuary in Essex – who after thirty years of saving horses has seen the current crisis spiral out of control.
Horse welfare organisations estimate that at least 7,000 horses are at risk in the UK
Sanctuaries are full to capacity so “saving” horses becomes less and less of an option.
Laws like the 2006 Animal Welfare Act exist but are poorly enforced.
▪ Trading Standards and police have legal powers but the RSPCA who usually lead on these cases do not.
*Left On the Verge (updated 2013) – a report by leading horse welfare organisations
With a call for the most simple of welfare standards – clean water, enough food and a safe environment – Mark and his followers “Hope for Horses” will be rallying to draw attention to the crisis that nobody sees.
Please help us highlight the shocking and disgraceful plight of these beautiful noble creatures and get behind the cause.
Facebook: Help the Horses of Fosse Park, Leicester
Facebook: The plight of the Ddrydwy ponies and horses in Pencarnisiog
For further information, Mark Johnson DipWCF can be contacted by email