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Choke, colic and dying: public warned of the implications of feeding horses with out permission


  • Horses who have suffered and died as a result of unauthorised feeding appear in a new video warning the public about the possible consequences of their actions.

    As part of the #BeHorseAware campaign, the British Horse Society (BHS) and the University of Bristol have created the film explaining why people should not feed anything to horses without the owners’ permission.



    It shows a couple and two children who, en route to a picnic, ask another walker not to feed their dog, but then after lunch, empty their leftover food into a horse’s field.

    Later scenes show a vet’s arrival — and the devastated owner after her horse has been lost.

    The #BeHorseAware campaign was launched in response to research carried out by the University of Bristol, which found that hundreds of horses had been ill or injured after they were fed without their owners’ permission.

    BHS welfare director Gemma Stanford said: “This short film, which has been released today on #WelfareWednesday, takes you through the devastating real-life emotion and heartache that has been a reality for many horse owners.

    “Although we believe many people are simply unaware of the risks that certain foods pose, we encourage members of the public not to feed horses without the owners’ permission. If members of the public feel that a horse is being mistreated or underfed, we would ask them to contact the BHS horse care and welfare helpline for advice.”

    The video also includes pictures of some of those horses who have suffered, including Pie, who had life-threatening choke after he was fed bred and cereal, and Flash, who was badly injured when a fight broke out among horses being fed by passers-by.

    Jo Hockenhull, senior research associate at the University of Bristol Vet School, said: “We are pleased to be working with the BHS on their #BeHorseAware campaign to help raise awareness of the harm that can be caused by feeding horses without permission.

    “Our findings indicated this is a widespread problem that can have serious consequences for the horses involved. Whilst people are generally not acting maliciously, they are often unaware of an individual animal’s circumstances and the potential consequences of their actions. We urge people not to feed horses they meet; it is simply not worth the risk.”

    The BHS has produced signs for horse owners to place around their fields asking the public not to feed their horses. These are available for download on the BHS website.

    “I do get it; people haven’t got anything to do and they think it’s nice to feed the pony but

    “Lightning gave me the impetus to get out of my wheelchair and walk again. I will always walk with a

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