RSPCA prepares to care for record number of horses this Christmas

The RSPCA is preparing to care for hundreds of horses this Christmas taking in more equines than ever before.

Hundreds of horses are expected to be taken in by the RSPCA this winter as the equine crisis continues.

The animal welfare charity rescued 5,429 animals over last Christmas period (2017) and took in more than 13,000 animals over last winter.

As the charity finds itself in the midst of an ongoing equine crisis- with high numbers of horses being neglected or abandoned – staff are preparing for a very busy Christmas.

Last year, the charity had more than 8,000 animals in its care on Christmas Day – 868 of those were horses – many more than previous years (526 in 2015 and 608 in 2016). And RSPCA officers rescued 48 equines in December alone.

The figure looks set to be even higher this year, as the RSPCA already had 895 horses in its care by the end of October.

The RSPCA received 55,821 calls from concerned members of the public in December (2017) and investigated 9,725 complaints across England and Wales. Of those complaints of cruelty and neglect, 1,338 related to horses.

Last year (2017), the charity took in more horses than in any of the past four years, and weekly more and more horses being found sick, neglected or dumped like rubbish.

RSPCA equine welfare expert, Mark Kennedy, said: “We receive around 80 calls a day about horses to our 24-hour emergency hotline and are always being asked to help horses in dire need. As soon as we rehome a horse, we have another horse in need entering our care.

“The poor economic climate, over breeding of horses, the high cost of vet care and falling prices for horses have all contributed to the crisis – and with the poor harvest this summer and associated increases in forage, bedding and feed costs we expect even more horses will need our help as we lead up to Christmas.”

This Christmas, the RSPCA is asking the nation to show kindness to all of the animals in need. Based on the last three winters, the charity expects more than 10,000 animals to be taken into their care this winter.