Charities monitor welfare at Appleby Fair

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A number of charities attended Appleby Horse Fair last week (5-11 June) to monitor the welfare of the animals involved.

Barely walk

Around 30,000 visitors head to Appleby in Cumbria each year for the annual gypsy and traveller fair, at which hundreds of horses are bought and sold.

RSPCA officers warned a number of horse owners against over-working their animals, but one horse had to be euthanised after he was found collapsed and didn’t recover, whileanother was ridden to the point of exhaustion.

Similar problems occurred last year, when a man from Slough was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a mare. She had been ridden so hard she was breathing heavily and could barely walk.

Positive atmosphere

The number of incidents at the fair was down this year compared to two years ago. The RSPCA dealt with 147 welfare problems this year and issued three warnings, compared to 2012 when the number of incidents was 192 and the number of warnings 38.

“We dealt with a similar number of incidents to last year, which was the most successful so far in terms of animal welfare, and the atmosphere was positive towards us and our colleagues from Redwings, World Horse Welfare, Blue Cross and The Donkey Sanctuary, who are a crucial part of the team there ensuring that animal welfare is top priority,” said RSPCA chief inspector Rob Melloy.


Other incidents at this year’s fair included a donkey suffering from sarcoids, two lurcher-type puppies who were seized by police on welfare grounds and a number of dogs left in hot cars.

“It’s so frustrating to keep repeating the same message over and over and to keep dealing with incidents that we’ve warned against,” said Rob. “Very fortunately all of the dogs were okay. Never leave your dog in a vehicle, or anywhere else that can get hot, on a warm day.”