Skip to content

RSPCA Finds Horse Cruelty Cases Worryingly High

The RSPCA in the last year have had to spend around £3million on the protection of horses. They have been shocked by the worryingly high amount of reported cases of cruelty to horses. Particularly in Berkshire, where there were astoundingly more than 100 complaints in 2017.

Equine Crisis

The charity in fact received 144 complaints regarding the treatment of just over 100 horses in the Berkshire area. This included Wokingham, Bracknell and Reading. The RSPCA has named it an ‘equine crisis’ as over the last three years 21 horses have been rescued in the area. Whilst many have been found abandoned and sick, undernourished or even dead.

2017 was a very bad year in this regard, as across England and Wales the RSPCA had to rescue more horses than they've had to for four years. Furthermore, equine cruelty convictions have risen by 25% since 2015.

In 2017 in Berkshire there was one particular famous case. Unbelievably 59 horses were left stranded near Highclere Castle just outside of Newbury, Berkshire.

Saddest Story of 2017

On this specific case, Claudia Corner, an equine re-homing officer for the RSPCA, said, ‘These horses are one of the saddest stories of 2017’ but also that this was not an extraordinary example. She suggests that it was ‘typical of the struggle currently faced with abused, neglected, or abandoned horses being picked up in large numbers.’

The horses found abandoned are often emaciated and plagued with worms and lice. But, with plenty of care and rehabilitation, the horses are nurtured back to health. Though rescue is really only the first step on a long road. Some horses may need several months of medical attention.

This is also, it should be said, part of wider animal cruelty which seems to be especially high in the Berkshire area. There has also been evidence of badger baiting in certain dogs that were recovered with bite marks on their necks.

Fly Tipped Horses

Over the whole of the UK, the RSPCA rescued nearly 1000 horses last year. RSPCA Chief Inspector, Sam Garvey, suspects this is due to a horrifying rise in people fly tipping horses. This often occurs when they do not want to pay for veterinary care.

Also on the rise are people selling horses online for very low sums or given away for free. This may suggest a distinct lack of care for whether the horses in question will be properly looked after or where the horses will end up.

The charity is currently looking after 850 rescue horses in their privately run stables. Some of the horses, such as Adie who was found last New Year ’s Eve dumped on a dirt track and left for dead, had been dispensed with as if they were rubbish. But now, thanks to the work of the charity, are once again healthy and cared for.

The charity urges owners who don't have enough money to care for injured or sick horses, to reach out for help. Charities such as the or other local organisations want to help so that this horrible trend does not continue.


We are very sorry, but the browser you are visting us with is outdated and not complient with our website security.

Please upgrade your browser to a modern secure version to view our website.