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Blue Cross calls for closer scrutiny of online horse sales
Blue Cross also found that the promotion of breeding is a cause for concern in online advertisements.

Investigation reveals extent of online horse trade

National pet charity Blue Cross is calling on the government to look closer at the problems horse owners face when buying and selling online.

The call follows an investigation by the charity which revealed that selling a horse online is becoming increasingly commonplace.

Blue Cross recruited a team of volunteers to track six equine websites and Facebook, over a period of 12 weeks from August to November of 2017. Some 3,349 unique selling adverts were tracked over this time and the contents analysed.

“Selling a horse online appears to be an emerging market,” says Blue Cross education officer Kerry Taylor. “On 22 August alone there were 8,061 ads selling one or more horses on the six classified sites we tracked.”

While 76 per cent of all adverts described a riding horse or pony, 28 per cent of all adverts used terminology that implied the horse was not straightforward, needed work, was young and inexperienced, or displayed behavioural problems.

“Although this might not cause a problem for an experienced, knowledgeable home, it could make it hard to assess the horse accurately in a short period of time when looking to buy,” said Kerry. “This could lead to buyers purchasing a horse that is unsuitable for them, raising concerns about the future welfare of such animals and potential safety risks for the purchasers.”

Blue Cross also found that the promotion of breeding is a cause for concern in online advertisements. Although the number of horses listed with a potential use for breeding was small (one per cent) the quality of such adverts flagged health and welfare concerns.

One mare advertised as suitable as a companion or broodmare was described as permanently lame with a previously broken pelvis rendering her unrideable. However, the advert went on to say that ‘it doesn’t impact on her ability to be bred from and she foaled fine this year with no assistance.’

Kerry added: “Blue Cross is urging government to address the growing issues around the online sale of pets and look more closely at the particular problems horse owners face when buying and selling online and the subsequent welfare concerns that can arise.

“Education is also key to tackling this problem and we hope our research and advice will encourage new horse owners to make a more informed choice.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”