Ten years ago, equine charities in Britain rallied to help nearly 100 horses who were found neglected on a property in Buckinghamshire, England.
Terrible scenes greeted rescuers, with animals were found in varying states of emaciation, covered in lice and suffering from overgrown feet in the fields of Spindles Farm, near Amersham. The carcasses of 32 horses and donkeys laid around them.
One welfare group said it appeared as if the horses, ponies and donkeys had been forgotten and left to die.
Britain’s RSPCA was tipped off after a member of the public reported seeing a dead horse in the field. Agencies involved in getting the horses to safety included Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the ILPH (now World Horse Welfare) and the Blue Cross.
The case saw the first effective use of new powers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which enables the removal of animals from situations where they are suffering or are highly likely to suffer as authorised by a veterinary surgeon. It ensured every horse and donkey was transported to places of safety as quickly as possible.
The owner of the farm was jailed for 24 weeks following the longest running animal welfare trial in British history.
Redwings, in releasing an “#Amersham10” video marking the 10 years since the rescue, said: “We had no idea about the journey ahead as we stepped onto Spindles Farm that fateful day in January 2008. From their rescue and lengthy court cases, to intensive veterinary treatment and daily care, we have stuck by our Amersham survivors for 10 years.”
Redwings still has 58 horses from Amersham in its care.