• 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

Joint Equine Welfare Charities’ Report – Britain’s Horse Problem

Welfare charities ask for public support to prevent equine welfare catastrophe and recommend solutions to fix ‘broken system’.

A report released this week highlights that more responsible ownership, wider regulation and active enforcement needed to break the cycle of suffering.

Seven leading animal welfare charities are calling on the public and the government for support this winter to help them cope with an expected surge in equine welfare cases due to the pandemic, as they release a joint report, Britain’s Horse Problem.

The report highlights how the pandemic has impacted welfare charities and is expected to create significantly more equine welfare problems when charities are least able to cope with them, against a backdrop of a ‘broken system’ which allows thousands of equines to become at risk of suffering each year. The report includes recommendations for owners, the public, government and enforcement agencies to fix this system, and mitigate what is feared could be a ’horse welfare catastrophe’ this winter and beyond.

Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare which led the coalition producing the report, said:

“The demands on welfare charities which seemed so acute in 2012 with the ‘horse crisis’ have continued unabated, so this is no longer a crisis but the ‘new normal.’ Equine welfare charities have been overstretched trying to help as many horses as possible, grappling with crisis management to the best of our ability over the past seven years, but Covid could push us over the edge.

“With such a challenging winter ahead, now is the time to highlight to the public and government that we see a grim equine welfare storm brewing, and that we urgently need support to cope with it. It is as important as ever to better tackle the root causes of this systemic scourge and change the system to better protect horses and to truly hold owners to account.”

The number of equines requiring help from the c.200 equine rescue and rehoming charities in England and Wales continues to outpace the more than 11,350 spaces already provided, and the number of reports from the public regarding poor equine welfare remains persistently high. There are more than 7,000 equines on charities’ radar as being at risk of neglect or abandonment. Members of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC – which includes most of the largest charities) continue to take in more than 2,000 equines each year, with 2,347 admitted in 2019.

Nic de Brauwere, Chair of NEWC and Head of Welfare & Behaviour at Redwings, commented:

“While equine charities have taken in thousands of horses each year, horses are being put at risk at least at the same pace as we are collectively able to rescue them. It’s like trying to drain a bath with the taps still on, no matter how much water escapes down the drain the water level remains unchanged. Covid could make the bath overflow.” 

A follow up to the 2012 and 2013 reports highlighting the ‘horse crisis’ which arose after the 2008 financial downturn, the report welcomes changes to the law since 2012 on addressing fly-grazing and equine identification but highlights systemic failures of equine ownership and enforcement. It also says that wider regulation of equine establishments is needed as many large rescue cases now arise from purported sanctuaries or commercial businesses.

Equine owners and the public are also asked to consider their own responsibilities when caring for their animals or giving to rescue charities.

“If you are struggling with horse ownership, reach out to a charity who may be able to help offer support and guidance before the problem spirals out of control. We also urge members of the public to give to reputable welfare charities this winter but do your homework. Is the rescue organisation a genuine charity? Do they meet basic welfare standards for the animals they care for? Just a little consideration before you give can make sure you have the impact you want.” Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare.

Blue Cross, Bransby Horses, British Horse Society (BHS), Horseworld, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, RSPCA and World Horse Welfare often work collaboratively when dealing with large welfare rescues and have pooled their expertise in producing this report.

Read or download a copy of the report here.

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Updated: Covid-19 Guidance for Equine Rescue and Rehoming Centres – Jan 2021

In accordance with Government guidance, companion animal rescue and rehoming organisations can remain open to provide for the ongoing needs of animals in their care.

Guidance, updated in January 2021, is available for rescue, rehoming centres and organisations that are working in England during the third lockdown period of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The guidance contains advice on adherence to Government restrictions concerning social distancing and essential travel, including:

  • The admission (intake) of animals into a rescue environment
  • The care of animals whilst in a rescue environment
  • Veterinary care of animals in a rescue environment or to be rehomed
  • The rehoming (adoption) of animals, including temporary placement in a foster home (or equivalent).

Download the guidance below:

Full guidance for animal rescue and rehoming organisations 

Additional advice for equine rescue and rehoming organisations

We advise our members operating in or travelling to/from Scotland or Wales to check the advice from their relevant government – further information is available here for Scotland, and here for Wales.

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RSPCA (England and Wales) Release new Strategy - ‘Together for Animal Welfare’

The RSPCA has launched a new strategy of increased partnership working in a bid to “bring an end to the decade-long horse crisis”. The crisis is believed to have been sparked by the 2008 financial crash and the charity’s senior equine clinician Roxane Kirton said it has now become a “horse catastrophe”.

At its height, the RSPCA had more than 900 equines in its care. That number reduced to 673 during 2020 through a surge in demand for rehoming and transferring some equines into the care of other charities.

Ms Kirton said the charity has an “excellent working relationship” with members of the National Equine Welfare Council and is looking to step up its collaborative work with other charities.
“Despite our numbers reducing we are still as committed as bringing an end to the horse crisis which has turned into a horse catastrophe,” she said.

“As the name of our new strategy [Together for Animal Welfare] suggests, we know we are more powerful when we act with others than on our own. We remain positive that this is something we can get a grip on if we work together.

“Education and changing the attitudes and behaviour of some horse owners is also vital for solving this dreadful problem, and we have some fantastic educational initiatives between us as charities that I’m confident will pave the way for a better future for our horses.”

The 10-year strategy sets out eight aims to “change life for the better for all types of animals both in England and Wales and abroad”. These include reducing cruelty by half, achieving statutory powers for RSPCA inspectors and securing the adoption of a universal declaration on animal welfare by the United Nations.

“Like all charities, we’ve faced unprecedented challenges in the past year due to coronavirus and our strategy reflects that,” said chief executive Chris Sherwood.

“But at a time of enormous change and uncertainty about the future, there are some things we can depend on. The RSPCA is one of them. We will rescue and protect animals for as long as they need us.”

Read More
Equine Sanctuary Owner Faces 10-Year Ban
Image credit: RSPCA

The former owner of a horse sanctuary has been banned from keeping equines for 10 years after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to animals in her care.

In 2019, NEWC member charities offered emergency care to over 130 horses, ponies and donkeys discovered at Whispering Willows.

Inside sanctuary for rescued horses where officers found 130 animals malnourished and suffering - Wales Online

Speaking after the sentencing, NEWC chairman, Nic de Brauwere said: "It is thanks to the strong partnerships formed as part of NEWC that our members were able to offer their expertise and open their doors so quickly to the horses from Whispering Willows, many of which were in a desperate condition, and want to thank everyone involved in helping to give them safe new homes"

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New Covid-19 Secure Guidance for Equestrian Establishments

Guidance for equestrian establishments on mitigating the risks of Covid-19 has been produced by NEWC President, Dr David Marlin. Follow this link to view/download the guidelines.

Hot on the heels of a survey which highlighted UK horse owners’ key concerns during the current coronavirus pandemic, two of the survey’s authors – equine scientist Dr David Marlin and Dr Jane Williams (Hartpury University) – have collaborated to produce a comprehensive set of guidelines to help equestrian establishments put in place recommended measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. 

The advisory document provides details of the responsible practices that need to be adopted by owners and keepers, based on credible research and national government guidance. The initiative is in direct response to the survey findings which identified that 73% of respondents felt that the pandemic had a significant detrimental impact on their mental health, citing stress regarding who would be able to care for their horse in the event of illness or need to self-isolate, as a key factor. The survey also evidenced that while livery yards were strong on providing hand washing or hand sanitising facilities, the majority – especially DIY yards – had limited Covid-19 plans in place and many struggled to implement the standard measures prescribed by government within an equestrian environment. 

Alongside the information detailing precautionary steps which should be rolled out across all equestrian settings, the eight-page dossier also offers those who care for horses, donkeys or mules, insightful tips on how to be suitably prepared to ensure the welfare of their animal, in case they fall victim to the virus or are forced to self-isolate and therefore stay away from the yard. 

In addition to the guidelines, which are endorsed by the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC), World Horse Welfare, RSPCA, The British Horse Society and British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), Dr Marlin and Dr Williams have produced an eye-catching poster that can be downloaded from the DrDavidMarlin.com website, which provides a clear visual means of communicating how to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission on any equine yard.

Commenting on the two sets of guidance, Dr David Marlin said, “Our survey highlighted a number of concerns amongst owners, a large number of whom felt anxiety linked to how they’d cope if they were unable to get to the yard, either because of ill-health or the need to observe self-isolation protocol. Worryingly, the report also raised a red flag over the apparent lack of measures in place at equestrian establishments that were struggling to understand how they could act to stop the spread. While the number of coronavirus cases is falling, the message from the government is clear, there is no room for complacency in the fight against this virus, so it is imperative that all yards – including DIY livery yards – follow the recommended advice outlined in our guidance and take active steps to ensure the necessary Covid-secure measures are adopted.”

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Cavalier Centre join NEWC

We are delighted to welcome Cavalier Centre, home of Perry RDA, as new members of NEWC! 

Perry RDA was established in 1995 and relocated to its present home at the Cavalier Centre in Shropshire in 2014. Their superb on-site facilities enable disabled people of all ages to take part in therapeutic riding, vaulting, hippotherapy and carriage driving.

Find out more about their work here: cavaliercentre.org

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Dean Farm Trust Welcomed as New Members of NEWC

We are thrilled to welcome Dean Farm Trust as new members of NEWC. 

Founded in 2016, Dean Farm Animal Sanctuary is home to over 200 rescued animals living in 62 acres of pasture, woodland and paddocks near Chepstow, South Wales. 

The animals, including Miniature Shetland ponies, Exmoor ponies, donkeys, pigs, sheep and ex-battery hens, are all given a home for life.

The sanctuary is run by a small team of staff and volunteers, dedicated to the welfare, comfort and safety of their residents ensuring they have quality of life

Visit their website to find out more: deanfarmtrust.org.uk

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Animal Welfare Research Network (AWRN) Workshop on ‘How Happy are Equine Athletes?’

In collaboration with The Horse Trust, World Horse Welfare and the University of Liverpool, NEWC is holding a virtual workshop on Tuesday 30th March 2021 to discuss the concept of the happy equine athlete and how we can tell if the horses and ponies we are working with are indeed ‘happy athletes’. 

Registration for the event is now closed but we will make the presentations available for members on our website in April.

AWRN Workshop on “How happy are equine athletes?” – Animal Welfare Research Network

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Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund – deadline 15th Jan 2021

Applications are open for the final round of Petplan Charitable Trust’s Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund!

Submit by Friday 15th January Are you a small/medium-sized charity whose primary focus is equine rescue and rehoming? If your work has been directly affected by the crisis you could be eligible for a grant of up to £5000.

For more details & to apply, visit: Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund

About the fund

The Petplan Charitable Trust (PPCT) has joined together with NEWC and World Horse Welfare to create a Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund.

The purpose of the fund is to help smaller equine welfare organisations across the UK who are being significantly impacted by the current crisis.

All equine welfare organisations have experienced unprecedented financial and operational challenges as a result of the coronavirus crisis. On top of looking after the animals in their care with very limited rehoming possible, they have had to close their centres to visitors, cancel fundraising events and see donations dry up during the ongoing crisis. This can be especially devastating for smaller charities.

Where is the money coming from?

Support for the Fund, which was set up at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic with a commitment of £50,000 from PPCT, has already raised a further £80,000 from the RSPCA, The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings, World Horse Welfare and the British Horse Society (BHS). We’re delighted to report that the fund has also been boosted by £10,000 from the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust.

The maximum grant will be £5,000. Grants will be decided by a committee comprising representatives from NEWC, the supporting charities and an independent member, with PPCT administering the fund.

Is your charity eligible?

Applicants need not be NEWC members, but rescue and rehoming of equines should be the primary focus of the organisation. If more applications are received than funds available, priority will be given to NEWC members.

How to apply

Applications for the final round of funding are open now. Simply follow this link and you will be taken to an online form. The deadline for the final round of applications is Friday 15th January 2021. Successful applicants will be notified one week later and payment will be made by 29th January 2021.

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