• Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

  • Welcome To

    The National Equine Welfare Council

Since its inception in 1977, as a forum for like-minded equine charities to share ideas and welfare concerns, the National Equine Welfare Council C.I.C. has become a nationally recognised and respected member body that unifies the sector on matters of welfare concern.

It is the NEWC’s mission to protect the welfare of the horse, pony, donkey and mule by ensuring that everyone who has an interest or association with an equine makes its health and welfare the overriding factor in all decision making.

It is NEWC’s mission to raise awareness of equine welfare issues and to help improve equine welfare standards nationwide.

NEWC membership provides an assurance to both the public and the industry that equine welfare is the priority. Through working collaboratively with the industry and its members, NEWC is committed to improving efficiency through sharing information and resources.

Streamlining education, regulation and enforcement initiatives are NEWC key objectives to ensure horse welfare standards steadily improve.

The NEWC network is very wide with over 70 members throughout the UK which include equine welfare charities large and small as well as a multitude of organisations from the equestrian and veterinary sectors of the equine industry.

Latest News

Ambassadors sought for Strangles Awareness Week 2022

Strangles Awareness Week will return in 2022 after this year’s campaign reached more than two million people across the world.

Over 180 Ambassadors, including equestrians, livery yards, riding centres, vet practices and equine professionals, signed up to share messages through social media during the Week, which ran from 3rd to 9th May 2021, with the aim of raising awareness amongst horse owners of the world’s most commonly diagnosed infectious equine disease.

For the first time, international equine and veterinary organisations, including Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute and its 20 member organisations, the Royal GD and MSD Animal Health in the Netherlands, and the University of Melbourne and the Equine Veterinarian membership body in Australia also supported the Week.

In all, more than 310,000 people were reached online, while a further 2.5 million readers received the Week’s messages through articles in worldwide equine and veterinary publications.

Organisers are now encouraging even more people from across the equine community to show their interest in becoming Ambassadors ready for next year’s campaign, which will take place from 2nd to 8th May 2022.

Ambassadors will join a mailing list to receive exclusive Strangles Awareness Week content for their social media channels, as well as guidance on how to share their own experiences of the disease and encourage others to speak up too.

Strangles Awareness Week began in 2020 and is a unique collaborative effort between The British Horse Society, Intervacc, Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Scotland’s Rural College’s Premium Assured Strangles Scheme (PASS), Surveillance of Equine Strangles (SES) and World Horse Welfare, who have brought together their decades’ worth of expertise of either caring for horses with Strangles, supporting those coping with outbreaks or research into the disease.

Andie McPherson, Redwings’ Campaigns Manager, said: “This year we saw almost three times as many Ambassadors taking part in Strangles Awareness Week – from livery yard managers to vets, from farriers to professional equestrians. It shows that Strangles affects all corners of the equine community and how we can all lend our voices to help raise better awareness. 

“One in three Ambassadors from this year’s campaign also commented that they had never or rarely posted about Strangles on their social media pages prior to the Week so it gave them a platform to proactively raise the topic with their followers and clients and start constructive conversations around the disease’s prevention and management.”

It is hoped that next year’s Strangles Awareness Week, if Covid-19 restrictions continue to be lifted, will provide an opportunity for livery yards, equine education facilities and vet practices to host events, such as client evenings, talks and demonstrations, as well as raise awareness online. Ambassadors will be supported with activity suggestions, editable presentations and promotional materials to help them advertise their events, with more details to be released nearer the time.

Anyone wishing to sign-up as an Ambassador for Strangles Awareness Week 2022 and be kept up-to-date with the latest news from the campaign can email campaigns@redwings.co.uk.

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A rescued foal who suffered horrific burns as the result of an apparent arson attack is continuing to fight for his life at Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

The seven-week-old colt, named Phoenix, arrived at the charity’s Horse Hospital in Norfolk this week having spent over a fortnight receiving emergency care at Lingfield Equine Vets, who are nearby to where he was discovered.

Phoenix was found near Sevenoaks in Kent on the evening of 3rd August and taken to the vets for immediate treatment. The whereabouts of his mother is unknown.

Poor Phoenix had burns across one whole side of his body resulting in him losing most of his foal hair and his mane, and leaving him with incredibly painful sores.

Having worked closely with agencies, such as the RSPCA, veterinary practices and other welfare organisations, in the area for many years, Lingfield contacted Redwings soon after his arrival to see if the Sanctuary could offer the little foal a home if he pulled through.

Nic de Brauwere, Redwings’ Head of Welfare & Behaviour and NEWC Chairman, said: “It’s heart-breaking that anyone would target any animal, but particularly such an innocent foal with such a barbaric act of cruelty. Luckily, he ended up at Lingfield who have given him every chance to survive. Phoenix’s condition was very touch and go for a few days, but he started to respond to treatment - his progress no doubt helped by his strong little character and the affection and skill of his carers at Lingfield.

Even if he pulled through his initial treatment, it was clear he would need to be somewhere that could provide long-term intensive care, as well as a new permanent home, so we were only too happy to help. We decided to fund his treatment at Lingfield, and only once he was strong enough to cope well with the journey, was he carefully transported to the Redwings Horse Hospital by our team.”

Phoenix is currently receiving around-the-clock care in the ICU stables at Redwings, and a mare named Mildred, who is a permanent resident at the Sanctuary, has been housed in the neighbouring stable to provide him with company and act as his surrogate mother in time.

Senior Veterinary Surgeon Nicky Jarvis, Redwings’ Head of Veterinary Services, said: “His skin will take an extensive amount of time to heal and we expect him to be left with a lot of scarring. His burns cover the whole left side of his body, including his legs, and they’re obviously very painful as he struggles to lie down in his stable. Our focus now is making sure his wounds are cleaned and dressed frequently and to help ease his discomfort with pain relief, which is happening around-the-clock thanks to the dedication of our wonderful vets and nurses here at Redwings.

Phoenix still has a long way to go – while his condition is stable, he is certainly not out of the woods yet – but happily he is eating and drinking well, he appears alert and is super-friendly despite his ordeal. We’re keeping all our fingers crossed for him.”

Redwings and its skilled vet team are funded entirely by donations from the public. 

To support little Phoenix in his recovery, please text RESCUE 20 to 70085 to donate £20 (texts cost the donation amount plus one standard rate message), call 01508 481000 or visit www.redwings.org.uk/donate.

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Research Project Participants Invited - Visual Grading Scale for Hoof Distortion

Farrier, Dean Bland, of Well Equine is inviting participants from the equine sector to contribute to a research project supporting welfare assessment of hoof distortion associated with equine inactivity and neglect of farriery provision.

Despite the prevalence of foot health compromises in welfare descriptions, there is currently no visual grading scale for the hoof distortion observed in equine populations in the UK. This study proposes to develop a visual grading scale and measure its impact on the repeatability and reproducibility of data collection for welfare assessment.

Participation will help explore the opportunities a visual grading scale for hoof distortion can offer the welfare assessment process, contributing to improved understanding and description of suboptimal welfare, and the welfare of horses.  

Interested parties will be invited to participate in a short online workshop that includes the assessment of case studies and training in the use of a visual grading scale for hoof distortion.   

Please follow the links below to find out more about getting involved:

Well Equine Research
Participant Guide and Consent Form

Or contact Dean Bland directly at: dean@wellequine.co.uk

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Dartmoor ponies hit with new strain of deadly disease

Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust is trying to contain the outbreak within its 450-hectare site

Visitors of Dartmoor are being urged to stay away from its native ponies to help stop the spread of a vicious new strain of strangles.

Ponies have already been known to suffer from the highly contagious infection, and now the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust is putting a firewall around the 450-hectare site it leases from Forestry England at Bellever to try and protect its herd of 27 ponies which they hope will prevent the infection from spreading further to other herds on the moors.

The site is very popular with visitors but with ponies at Haytor and Widecombe already infected it is urging the public to stay away from its ponies and horse riders to stay out of Bellever.

The charity’s CEO Dru Butterfield said: “The neighbouring newtake to the land we lease has contracted strangles, this strain is particularly nasty.

"We are devastated that our herd, which we go to such extreme measures to care for are now almost certain to contract this terrible infection.

“We urge the public to avoid any contact with our ponies and to please enjoy them from a distance.

"If you are a horse owner we would ask you to avoid Bellever until we provide an all-clear notice.”

The DPHT is working closely with leading veterinary experts and the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society in the hope it can prevent more ponies from suffering.

If you see a pony with a snotty nose, coughing or with abscesses please keep away but report the incident to Karla McKechnie Dartmoor Livestock Protection Officer on 07873587561.

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UK equine charities issue joint statement on BBC Panorama programme – The Dark Side of Horse Racing

UK equine charities - World Horse Welfare, The BHS, Blue Cross, Bransby Horses, Horse World, Redwings and the RSPCA - have released a joint statement about the BBC Panorama programme on Monday night.

"As welfare charities we were disturbed and deeply concerned by Monday’s (19/07/2021) BBC Panorama programme. It highlighted a number of issues that are not solely connected to racing, many of which the welfare charities have long been trying to bring to public and Government attention.

It showed horses being transported for slaughter over many miles, across country borders and in some cases while suffering with injuries such as severe lameness, in direct contravention of horse transport regulations. It also showed falsification of passports and failures in the equine ID and traceability system and the concerning treatment of horses in a slaughterhouse.

The racing world can help to drive improvements and we understand the British Horseracing Authority and other representatives of the industry including the Horse Welfare Board will be meeting to discuss the programme in more detail. However, we believe there are wider questions that need to be answered: why did it take undercover footage to reveal these issues when CCTV is now standard in abattoirs? Can we have faith that horses sent to abattoirs will be treated humanely? How can our ID system be shored up to prevent fraud and profiteering from these vulnerable animals at the end of their lives?

We would encourage all equine owners to make plans and provision for their own animal’s end of life care and we are calling on the Government through Defra’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare to act on promises to improve our Equine ID system – making sure the system is fit for purpose, enforceable and enforced – and ensure welfare is paramount both in horse transport and during their end-of-life care.

Please see our recent Britain’s Horse Problem Report for more detail on many of the issues raised by the programme".

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ABTC joins NEWC as new member

The Animal Behaviour and Training Council is the regulatory body that represents animal trainers and animal behaviour therapists to both the public and legislative bodies. It is supported by Defra, the veterinary profession, major animal charities and practitioners alike.

The ABTC sets and maintains the standards of knowledge and practical skills needed to be an animal trainer or animal behaviour therapist, and it maintains national registers of appropriately qualified animal trainers and animal behaviourists.

The ABTC is the only charity dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals undergoing training or behaviour therapy. The ABTC believes that it cannot be right to cause any animal pain in order to motivate it to carry out desired behaviours when humane methods are not only available but produce better long-term results.

Find out more about the Council and its practitioners here.

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The Moorland Mousie Trust welcomed as new members of NEWC

The Moorland Mousie Trust is a small, local charity founded in 2000 with the aim of preventing foals from being removed from the moor and sent to the meat market. Since those early days, the work of the trust has moved on to encompass all aspects of Exmoor pony welfare.

The Trust’s primary aim is to promote and protect the endangered rare-breed Exmoor pony. Their main work focuses on providing a future for the excess foals that are removed from the moor each year during the annual pony herd gathering.

The Exmoor Pony Centre, located in the heart of the Exmoor National Park and owned by the Moorland Mousie Trust, was opened to the public in 2006. The Centre, run by a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers, is the hub of all their activity with the Exmoor Ponies. It provides a permanent and specialised base for the foals when they arrive straight off the moor and is home to some 20 permanent residents.
Staff and volunteers work with each foal, using natural horsemanship techniques, to familiarise the youngsters with human handling, wearing a headcollar and being led. All foals in the Trust’s care are wormed and the colt foals are castrated. After completing 'foal school' the youngsters are available for rehoming with either a foster home or on a conservation grazing scheme. 

To date, the charity has helped secure the future of over 500 Exmoor ponies!

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Welsh man handed suspended jail term

A Welsh man has been handed a suspended jail term after failing to meet the needs of 91 ponies and causing dozens of them – plus three cockerels – to suffer at his farm.

Image credit: RSPCA Cymru

Evan Lloyd Evans, of Chwilog, Pwllheli, pleaded guilty to 10 Animal Welfare Act offences and was sentenced at Llandudno Magistrates’ Court on 21st June.

In addition, Evans was banned from keeping horses and poultry for 20 years and ordered to pay a £1,000 fine and a £128 victim surcharge.

The prosecution followed a large multi-agency operation at Evans’ farm in September 2020, which was supported by NEWC Chair and Redwings' Head of Welfare and Behaviour, Nic de Brauwere.

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogden found dozens of horses and other animals kept in outbuildings, barns and fields in highly inappropriate conditions, with faeces everywhere – and even a bucket of dead rats!

In total Evans kept 91 ponies in illegal conditions which were unhygienic and hazardous. Sadly, three had to be put to sleep during the operation due to the extent of their suffering.

Veterinary opinion was that dozens of the horses had suffered unnecessarily, including two who had not been given appropriate care for a broken leg and lameness respectively.

Six of the ponies also required treatment for parasites, while another had a severe facial deformity which had gone unchecked.

Shockingly, 28 had not received appropriate dental care, while a further eight were judged to be suffering from lack of hoof care.

RSPCA Inspector Keith Hogden said: “We’re indebted to our partners at North Wales Police, World Horse Welfare, Redwings and the British Horse Society, who worked tirelessly with us on this huge job, which was clearly so important for the continued welfare of the animals we rescued.

“I am just relieved that following the intervention of a number of agencies, many of these will now have a second chance of forever home happiness. It is a great example of partnership working which is testimony to what can be achieved together for animal welfare.”

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Redwings' Rescued Pony Becomes TV Star on Kate Humble's Farm

A rescued horse from Redwings Horse Sanctuary has found a loving new home at the farm of wildlife television presenter Kate Humble.

Kate Humble and Gilbert's new guardian, Sarah Stephens

The moment Gilbert, a handsome six-year-old cob, arrived at his new home was filmed for the latest episode of Escape to the Farm, which aired last week on Channel 5.

The series follows life on Kate’s farm, ‘Humble by Nature’, in Monmouthshire, Wales, and this episode captured Gilbert being led from the Redwings horsebox and meeting his new Guardian Sarah Stephens.

Sarah had been searching for a companion for horse Rags, who lives at Kate’s farm and who had sadly lost his stablemate. After enquiring with Redwings, the charity’s Rehoming team in Norfolk set about finding a perfect new friend for Rags.

Gilbert's mother Florence was rescued from horrific conditions as part of a large-scale rescue operation. However, as he was born following the rescue, he has never known anything other than love and care and was chosen specifically by the team for the important job of being a friend to Rags because of his calm and friendly nature.

Having arrived at his new home in April, Gilbert is settling well into his new surroundings.

Kate said: “Finding the perfect companion for a horse who has lost his stablemate of many years was not something I expected to be easy. But the knowledge and experience of the staff at Redwings helped us find Gilbert. He and our Rags struck up an instant rapport and Gilbert has become well and truly part of the farm family.

“We are so grateful for the careful consideration that Redwings gave to allow us to rehome this lovely horse and, in so doing, support the work of this excellent charity.”

Redwings has been rehoming rescued horses since 2005. Due to Covid safety measures, the charity is currently rehoming just non-ridden companion ponies and unbacked project horses - the latter receive basic training but are suitable to be trained to be ridden by experienced Guardians once in their new home.

Despite the changes, Redwings experienced its most successful rehoming year ever in 2020 and recently rehomed its 100th pony since the onset of the pandemic.

Rachel Angell, Redwings’ Head of Norfolk Equine Operations and Rehoming, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Gilbert is enjoying his new home – and has become a television star to boot! Thank you to Kate and Sarah for highlighting the sheer joy of rehoming a rescued horse and the importance of companion ponies.

“Companions not only provide invaluable friendship for another horse, but they can also act as calming travel buddies or can simply be wonderful pets in their own right. When you rehome from a registered charity like Redwings, you’re not only giving a second start in life to a rescued horse but you’re also providing space at the Sanctuary for another horse in need to be brought to safety.

“We wish Gilbert, Rags, Sarah and Kate many happy years together!”

Episodes of Escape to the Farm are available to watch on My5 at www.channel5.com.

To find out more about Redwings’ rehoming scheme, visit redwings.org.uk/rehoming.

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Rehoming a horse or pony from Blue Cross

If you and your family have decided you’d like to give a home to a horse or pony from Blue Cross, please have a look on their rehoming pages to see horses currently available for loan or potentially to own.

Blue Cross have a range of horses available for rehoming; from miniature Shetlands to cobs to thoroughbreds. They have companions and ridden horses and ponies, both backed and unbacked, and a range of ages from foals to veteran.

Blue Cross rehomes horses on a monitored loan, which means they check in to see how they’re doing from time to time to make sure that they – and you – are happy.

It is possible to transfer the ownership of Blue Cross horses and ponies after a successful loan period. This enables even more homeless horses needing help to be taken in.

Blue Cross are also always in need of support yards, preferably located within an hour’s drive of their centres, where horses are provided with temporary care and support on a private yard until a suitable permanent home is found. If you are interested in becoming a support yard rather than loaning a horse please visit their volunteering pages for further details.

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