EIGHT horses from the remote Scottish island of Islay have been rescued after their owners were struggling to care for them.
The couple who are struggling financially and both suffering with poor health decided they needed assistance with their horses which were underweight, suffering from rain scald and were being kept on a large area consisting mainly of scrubland and poached fields.
The decision to remove the horses was a preventative measure to ensure the horses did not become serious welfare cases.
The horses’ owners struggled to care for them due to ill-health
At the end of January, four World Horse Welfare staff, a Scottish SPCA Inspector and two of the owners’ family members rounded up the horses and transported them by trailer to an auction yard where they were kept overnight.
The following day the horses were transported via a horse lorry on the ferry to the mainland and then onto World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire where they will be cared for until they are ready to be rehomed.
World Horse Welfare Field Officer John Burns co-ordinated the operation after having the initial contact with the owners, and said: “Leaving the horses in their current conditions, with their owners’ health deteriorating, would have undoubtedly lead to further health problems for the horses.
They were held at an auction overnight
“Now they can gradually be introduced to a correct diet and get used to being handled more regularly. Hopefully they will then all go on to lead really useful lives in loving new homes.”
Scottish SPCA Inspector John McAvoy assisted with the rescue and said: “It has been fantastic to work alongside World Horse Welfare. The task of moving the horses from Islay to Aboyne has been extremely well-planned, professional, and without fault.”
Belwade Farm Centre Manager Eileen Gillen said: “We hope that this operation will relieve the pressure for the owners as there is less worry now to try and find the time and money to be able to look after these horses in the way they would want to while suffering from ill-health.
The animals were transferred to the mainland
“We wanted to be able to do the right thing and take in the horses but it is especially difficult as all of our UK Rescue and Rehoming Centres are full to bursting point. Therefore, we now, more than ever, need the help of members of the public to rehome our other horses so we can continue to take in more horses in need.”