New fears over horses’ wel­fare

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - What’s On - By Sa­man­tha Wil­liams

Calls are be­ing made to im­prove liv­ing con­di­tions for a herd of horses in Ash­ford.

Con­cern for the horses in the field op­po­site the John Lewis at Home shop were raised last month when they es­caped and ran into a busy road.

The RSPCA was called and found that fence panels were miss­ing and that their en­vi­ron­ment was less than ideal.

Shop­per Pat King said she also feared for the an­i­mal’s wel­fare when she spot­ted them af­ter leav- ing the shop, in Fougeres Way, with a friend last week.

Mrs King, from near Dover, said: “What con­cerns me is that the land is very scrubby and it doesn’t look as if there’s much, if any, pas­ture for the horses to graze on.

“I couldn’t see any feed in the field and it was im­pos­si­ble to know if there was any wa­ter.

“There were two very young foals in the field, one only looked a cou­ple of days old.

“Another brown and white horse looked very thin; you could see its ribs.

“The horses were all just stand­ing around, not graz­ing or any­thing.”

It is not known who owns the land or horses, but there are around 14 in the field.

Mrs King added: “I’ve of­ten thought that fields with live­stock in should carry the landowner or farmer’s con­tact de­tails on the gate or fence.

“That way you’d know who to con­tact with con­cerns. Maybe this is some­thing the RSPCA should look into.”

RSPCA spokes­woman Katya Mira said: “The RSPCA was called about con­cerns about the foals in Fougeres Way, Ash­ford in July af­ter they es­caped, and went to check on them.

“The en­vi­ron­ment was not ideal, and there were some is­sues with miss­ing fenc­ing, but in gen­eral the horses were in good con­di­tion and had plenty of graz­ing.

“We were work­ing to­gether with the po­lice on this is­sue and un­der­stand they have man­aged to speak with the own­ers and ask them to im­prove the fenc­ing.

“We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the horses in this area and make sure they are all right, and urge any­one with any con­cerns to call us and let us know on 0300 1234 999. The RSPCA has to act within the law and can­not re­move an an­i­mal with­out the per­mis­sion or the owner, or the sup­port of a vet or a po­lice of­fi­cer.

“We, and other horse wel­fare char­i­ties, have made no se­cret of the fact that the UK is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a horse cri­sis.

“In fact, we warned about it more than two years ago and urged the govern­ment to do all it could to help.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­

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