Category Archives: Welfare Projects

My Experiences with Horse Meat…

Since Princess Anne spoke at the annual conference of the charity World Horse Welfare suggesting changes to how Britain thinks about horse meat, the equestrian world has seen some ongoing debate on the subject.

To watch the speech, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24954892

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Horsemeat shop in Italy

In my childhood and early teens I spent many months in Italy and that’s when I first encountered shops entirely dedicated to horse meat. In fact, I still remember the very first time I got enlightened one actually eats horses on a shop-able scale because I cheerfully and obliviously entered one thinking it was a tack shop

The front window had horses painted on it in a way you could not see inside and a life size horse statue stood proudly at the door. I was beside myself with excitement (as you are when your great pleasure in life focuses on spending few hours in the morning browsing equestrian magazines and all things horsey) and was somewhat shocked when instead of shelves full of books, tack, grooming equipment, lotion, potions and air full of thick, eye watering scent of leather I was looking at red and pink, bloody and raw smelling room.

It was an odd experience of a kind when you look at something that appears incredibly heavy yet is amusingly light to lift. Visually, it was just in a reverse…

Many years later in Poland I bought a horse from a dealer who aside of dealing in show-jumping horses also bought and prepared horses for meat. All of them were sold to Italy. It was 1995 and to my knowledge it was a very profitable business. The horses were all cold bloods of different breeds, all huge and fat and shiny with long curly manes and big gentle eyes.

Before I bought my horse from that yard I had him on trial for a couple of months. This meant I had to ride him each time from dealer’s stables to the training centre where my trainer was and so I spent thirty or so minutes at the yard a day for those couple of months. One meat horse I remember to this day came down the ramp onto the yard with a bicycle chain for headcollar with few men holding onto him and not being able to control him. It was a sad picture and one that comes to my mind every time I read or hear how opening up for market of horse meat is going to improve equine welfare…

Having said that, all horses meant for meat were kept in exactly the same way as all other horses for sale. It’s not to say that was any particularly excellent way. They each had a separate stable and a lot (and I mean A LOT) of forage and feeds. They were being fattened up I suppose to weigh as much as possible since the price was dependent on weight. Continue reading My Experiences with Horse Meat…

The most emotional picture viewing ever…The Ultimate Before and [Not Always] After…

Having worked with horses for over 20 years and been around animals all my life I have seen a fair share of things that one might call “hard  to watch”. I dealt with a horse torn all over his body by dogs, seen magots eating away at a wound the size of a football on a living horse, seen blood pouring from a cut artery, horses with broken legs, beloved horse being put to sleep etc you know, really sad, often cruel things.

Even just recently, I saw pictures of a foal pulling a cart at speed at a 2013 Appleby fair. See the third photo down: http://www.baldhiker.com/2013/06/13/appleby-horse-fair-trotting-and-racing-the-flashing-lane/ Shocking to the bone in country that prides itself in being incredibly animal loving. Even more shockingly, barely anyone cared to share the message on social media when myself and a few others tried spreading attention. An e-petition campaigning for betterment of conditions at the fair doesn’t even have 100 signatures.

 

However, nothing quite prepared me for an emotional experience of  viewing the visual proof of absolutely amazing work being done by a few incredibly dedicated and selfless people in the pyramid area of Cairo, Egypt…

I can take all sorts of images without batting an eyelid and will often happily browse veterinary pages with some gruesome injuries to learn more about them but clicking through photo albums of this initiative I cried like I have never cried before at a sight of a photo.

Continue reading The most emotional picture viewing ever…The Ultimate Before and [Not Always] After…