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justice for the amersham horses.

"There was an overpowering smell of rotting flesh. Carcasses in pens had been dead for days. There were hooves lying in the straw bedding. One horse was lying against a concrete water trough. It was emaciated and very weak. It had a large sore on its flank where the hair had rubbed away exposing a raw wound."
- Extract from Bicester Magistrates' Court, District Judge's case document

In January 2008, one of the worst cases of animal neglect was discovered in Amersham, UK. The case of Spindle Farm caused a global outcry - many of the players here were playing at horse RPGs at the time and even many of the non British would have heard of it.

More than 100 horses were being kept in appalling conditions. 31 were dead by the time the RSPCA found out about it and managed to get in there, and conditions were so cramped that the equines were forced to stand on the dead. Some of the animals were in such a bad way that the RSPCA inspectors had to put them down on the spot. 97 horses, ponies and donkeys were rescued and 61 were taken to the largest equine sanctuary in the UK, Redwings Horse Sanctuary. One such rescue was of a two-month old donkey who was extremely underweight and also extremely nervous since she had been living opposite a caged Rottweiler. When she arrived at Redwings the donkey foal weighed only 28kg, but by December 2009 she weighed a much more healthy 96kg. However, her fate and the fate of the 60 others had been uncertain since they were not officially owned by Redwings, merely living there temporarily.

On 12th May 2010, the judge sentenced the owner of the farm to eight months imprisonment and was banned for keeping horses for life, and the rest of his family was banned for keeping horses for 10 years. The 61 horses, ponies and donkeys were at last signed over to Redwings' permanent care.

I know a lot of you guys are animal lovers and a sizeable number own horses yourselves, so I thought you might appreciate an update on the situation. Here's a video of Pinocchio, one of the 61 Amersham horses now owned by Redwings, playing a little football. There's also a link from this video to another video with footage from Spindle Farm - I wouldn't advise watching it if you have a weak stomach.

Visit Redwings.org.uk | Donate to the Justice for Amersham cause | Adopt a horse for 12.50 a year

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