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Charity rescues horses abandoned in smuggling attempt
One of the horses discovered had to be euthanised.
Authorities discovered overcrowded transporter at Dover.

An animal welfare charity has stepped in to rescue 26 horses, including pregnant mares, which were abandoned at a holding yard in Kent after authorities found they were being smuggled out of the UK.

The horses, only 19 of which had the necessary paperwork, were taken to World Horse Welfare’s Norfolk Rescue and Rehoming Centre.

One of the horses, an elderly mare with severe arthritis, was in such a bad condition that it had to be euthanised. Among the other horses, five mares were found to be pregnant, one of which had laminitis, and a number of the young colts were unhandled.

While in quarantine at the centre, the group was found to be carrying equine influenza, leading to the centre being put into lockdown to minimise the risk of it spreading.

The charity believes that some of horses were being exported to be slaughtered in Europe.

Roly Owers, chief executive of the charity, said: “We applaud the authorities for taking action in this case and stopping the vehicle, but far too often these lorries cross borders unchecked.

“From our initial investigations, the horses were allegedly travelling from the Republic of Ireland to France, using Britain as a land-bridge. But they are all British-born horses with some being bought from sales in England shortly before supposedly being ‘imported’ back into the country.

“Regardless of whether the horses started their journey in Ireland or Britain, it is highly likely that they would have been travelled for hours to potentially end their lives in a European slaughterhouse.”

Legislation to ban the live export of livestock, including equines, for fattening or slaughter is currently before the House of Lords. Welcoming
the planned law, World Horse Welfare has called on the government to ensure the ban will be properly enforced.

Mr Owers added: “To put an end to these abhorrent movements and to protect our nation’s horses, it is imperative that the UK government gets the Live Export Bill onto the statute book, finally implements a robust and digitalised equine identification system, and establishes an effective system for enforcing all equine legislation, so that smugglers can no longer hide behind a smokescreen of confusion.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

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News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.