Mare left in sweltering heat in Gravesend with dead foal hanging from her

PUBLISHED: 13:41 01 August 2013 | UPDATED: 13:41 01 August 2013

Abandoned horses along the Saxon Way in Gravesend

Abandoned horses along the Saxon Way in Gravesend


A mare was left abandoned in the sweltering heat with a dead foal hanging out of her, causing outcry among animal charities who say more needs to be done to hold horse owners to account.

World Horse Welfare field officer for Kent, Alana Chapman, made the gruesome discovery along the Saxon Shore Way in Gravesend -an eight-mile-long grassland littered with abandoned and neglected horses.

She said: “I tend to get calls from passers-by regarding concerns for the horses and I visit there quite frequently. It is difficult because you have to walk for miles across large stretches of land to find the horses of concern as there are more than 100 all running feral.”

“After walking for three miles across the vast grassland I came across this coloured mare, she was laying down.

“The closer I got to her the more strongly I could smell this vile smell, like a rotting stench. The poor mare looked as if she had prolapsed, but what had really happened was she had given birth to a dead foal, the foal and afterbirth were hanging out of her, just left there.

“It was a very hot day and she must have been so incredibly uncomfortable with no one to care for her. I then had to walk three miles to get the vet and again attempt to find her amongst all the other horses. Once the vet had checked her, we found that she had a broken pelvis, so we had to put her to sleep to end her suffering.

“This is another example of horses being left to indiscriminately breed with one another without proper care.”

World Horse Welfare has dealt with numerous horses from the area, dragging them out of deep marshland and working with vets to put them to sleep at the scene because of the severity of their suffering.

Alana says unless laws are tightened up the problem will only get worse, with many animals suffering and dying in the meantime.

“The problem is that none of these equines are microchipped or passported,” continues Alana. “So there is no way to link these horses to their owners, therefore no action can be taken against owners. Fly grazing has massively increased in my area, partly due to the economic crisis but mainly due to the fact that people can get away with doing it.

“Owners can simply dump their animals on good land, with good grazing, for free and if they cannot be held accountable for their actions then why would they not put them on there? The reality is that eventually these horses will die; it is inevitable that the equines will deteriorate without proper care. Charities cannot cope with mass numbers like these that are currently all over the UK right now, in the same position. We need help to put a stop to this.”

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