Welfare Concern

It is an inescapable fact, that throughout this country, much suffering is caused to horses and ponies through neglect, ill-treatment and exploitation. Cruelty can be active, in that it is deliberately inflicted, or passive, by failing through carelessness, callousness or ignorance to provide necessary care and conditions.


It is the moral and legal responsibility of anyone who sees an animal that is being cruelly treated, in distress or in poor health, to make every effort, to alleviate its plight. This should be done immediately, not sometime in the future.

If you see, or hear of, any horse or pony in distress, report it at once. Be sure of your facts, and if possible, get a witness to support your statement.

Possible indicators of a welfare concern can include:
– Inadequate weight – underweight /overweight
– Inadequate access to clean drinking water /food
– Untreated injury /disease
– Poisonous plants in the field
– Unsafe field /stable conditions
– Abandoned animals
– Incorrect tethering

If you have genuine concerns regarding a horse or pony it should be reported either to one of the NEWC organisations that specifically deal with welfare concerns or through the NEWC office via the online concern form.

Please note however that you must NOT go on to private land without permission. You can be sued if wilful damage to any of the property can be proved. If you are seen touching the horse, an irate owner could try to sue you for causing it injury. If you should have any sort of accident on this land – such as the horse kicking you – you are liable, not the landowner. Investigations must be carried out with great care.

All concerns reported via either method will be treated in a strictly confidential manner. The identity of anyone who reports an animal to a welfare organisation is kept in the strictest confidence.

If you believe that a horse or pony is in distress and needs help, you should contact AT ONCE any of the following, but please remember that not all organisations provide a round the clock service.

The British Horse Society – Telephone: 02476 840517

World Horse Welfare Hotline – Telephone: 0800 0480180

HAPPA – Telephone: 01282 455992

Bransby – Telephone: 01427 787369

Redwings Horse Sanctuary Welfare Hotline & Advice – Telephone: 01508 481008

RSPCA – Telephone: 0300 1234 999

SSPCA – Telephone: 0300 0999 999

Emergencies: If there are loose horses on the road/highway, please dial 999 and inform the police immediately, giving the road number and location. The Police and Local Authority inspectors, unlike other Welfare Organisations, have a legal power of enforcement.

When reporting a Welfare Concern please provide as much of the following information as possible:
1. The cause of your concern. (e.g. lameness, severely undernourished, over-ridden, unacceptable living conditions, lame, very thin, open wound above knee on near foreleg, bald patch on near shoulder etc.). Include the time and date you saw the animal.
2. A description of the horse/horses with all-possible detail; colour, sex, approximate age and height, distinguishing marks etc. (e.g. Chestnut mare, about 12.2hh, white star on face, white sock on off hind leg).
3. Information about the horses’ owners or alternatively details of the owner of the land on which the horse is kept.
4. A description of the location – field, buildings, road, any landmarks, so that it will be easy to find. (Please remember that any Welfare Officer attending may not know the area particularly well so the more information given the easier the location will be to find)
5. Your contact details, ideally a telephone number on which we can reach you. All information will be kept strictly private and confidential and will under no circumstances be passed on to the owner of the equine.
6. Information of any previous reporting or reports to other organisations about this concern.