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Anger at reports of new horses on Bucks horror farm

February 19, 2008

Supporters of Operation Esther, which gathered an estimated £500,000 ($NZ1.28 million) in horse gear to the aid the 111 horses rescued from a Buckinghamshire farm, have reacted with anger to news more horses have been found on the property.

News of the new horses on the farm was carried in Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, which also carried a photograph of the man who runs the farm.

"I don't know whether to get angry, cry, or just laugh at the complete idiocy of the so-called animal welfare laws," said one supporter of Operation Esther, which was driven through the forums of Britain's Horse and Hound magazine.

"How can this happen again?" another forum user asked.

Esther supporters are being urged to support a petition calling on an inquiry into events at the farm, where the carcases of 32 horses were found.

The 111 animals removed from the farm were taken to various horse sanctuaries, prompting the launch of Operation Esther to help with their care.

The Daily Mail alleges that the farm operator, described as a meat trader, was found to have more horses on the property only weeks after the massive welfare operation.

It reported they were kept in a barn.

A member of the public made a report to authorities and the RSPCA and police made a return visit, removing several horses to animal sanctuaries.

The man, 44, has appeared in court on charges of criminal damage and assaulting a policeman, but remains under investigation over animal welfare issues.

Operation Esther was the public face of the massive public support to help the rescued Buckinghamshire horses. The gear - enough to fill 30 horse horseboxes - was taken in convoy to the sanctuaries.

It was named after the youngest donkey rescued from the farm. Esther and her mum Mary were taken to Redwings sanctuary, where she was given her name.

Horse and Hound forum member Michelle Mortimer had placed a plea on the site for people to give up a luxury and donate that money to the charities concerned.

"Everybody involved with Operation Esther and the collection of donations has really taken it to their hearts and we are all very grateful.

"It is brilliant to be able to help the charities who took in not only these equines, but take in rescued horses, ponies and donkeys all year round."

The appeal became a nationwide movement that has gone from strength to strength, with collection points established around the country.

The International League for the Protection of Horses, which is caring for 11 of the horses, estimates their care will cost £66,000 over the next year alone.



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