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RSPCA to carry out exhaustion tests on horses at Appleby Horse Fair

Horses will be tested for exhaustion at the fair Photo: ITV Border

Animal welfare organisation, RSPCA, are set to arrive at the annual Appleby Horse Fair, along with six other equine organisations to carry out exhaustion tests on horses.

33 RSPCA officers will also be on the lookout for dogs being left in hot vehicles, following two dogs having to be rescued at last year's event.

Last year, the number of horses being worked to exhaustion was a big issue.

We often see different people with the same animal who may not be aware of how much work it has done that day or on previous days at the fair.

We’ll be using exhaustion tests on horses we’re concerned about, which were developed to be used on horses ridden in endurance events. A man from Essex was jailed after being found to be working an exhausted horse at last year’s fair.

I’m urging people to be vigilant and report anything that concerns them.

– Rob Melloy, RSPCA chief inspector

In attendance will be:

  • Seven people from Blue Cross
  • Four staff from Bransby Horses
  • A vet
  • Two donkey welfare advisors from Donkey Sanctuary
  • Three vets, two senior field officers and an education and campaigns manager from Redwings Horse Sanctuary
  • Four field officers and one welfare support officer from World Horse Welfare.

Every year we remind people, and almost every year we have an incident to deal with. It does not have to be glorious sunshine for dogs to be at risk.

We’ll be working with Cumbria Constabulary on a zero tolerance approach to this and where dogs are considered to be in danger they will be removed by any means necessary.

– Rob Melloy, RSPCA chief inspector

Around 10,000 Gypsies and travellers, and over 30,000 other visitors attend the Appleby Horse Fair, beginning Thursday 8 June.

It is the largest horse fair in Britain and is considered one of the oldest in Europe.