Horse rehoming centre welcomes first foal born from one of five mares rescued from smuggling

WORLD Horse Welfare’s Norfolk Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Snetterton has not only welcomed its first foal of the year but the birth marks the first born to one of five pregnant mares that were rescued from being smuggled out of the UK and believed to be heading to a European slaughterhouse.


The skewbald (brown and white) mare named Daisy gave birth to a healthy foal on Friday 12 April and the colt has been named Pompey after the British port of Portsmouth to highlight the charity’s ongoing efforts to stop the illicit movements of horses in and out of the UK.


“Pompey is a bundle of joy,” remarked Holly Roe, Senior Groom at Hall Farm. “It fills my heart to see them relaxed and happy here now, with a secure future ahead of them. Whilst they will remain in our ownership for the rest of their lives, our aim is for them to find loving new homes – although it will be months before Pompey is weaned,” she added. “Such a different outcome and I can’t bear to think about what their future might have been.”


Six-year-old Daisy is one of the ‘Dover 26’ – a group of horses and ponies intercepted by port officials from being illegally smuggled into Europe and rescued by World Horse Welfare. The mixed group, which included elderly animals, pregnant mares and frightened youngsters was discovered in an overcrowded and filthy vehicle, with many unfit for their intended journey and seven of the group undeclared to officials.


Whilst Daisy could be identified through her microchip and replacement passport, she wasn’t traceable and to date the only available record of her is that she, along with eight of the Dover 26 horses, was bought at an auction in the North-west of England just a week before being discovered at Dover. Despite this, Daisy and all the declared horses on board were travelling on EU documentation which stated their place of origin as the Republic of Ireland. World Horse Welfare believes these horses had never set foot outside of Great Britain and by declaring them as an EU-to-EU movement and using GB as a land bridge, the illicit traders knew that they would undergo less stringent checks and could drive out of the green lane when they reached a European port.


Pompey’s poignant birth underscores the harsh realities faced by vulnerable animals caught in this illegal trade in horses. Transported for days without rest in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, these horses suffer from a lack of basic necessities such as food and water, endure rough handling, and are exposed to increased risks of disease and injury.


It will be many months before both Daisy and her foal are ready to be rehomed, and Pompey alone will cost the charity in the region of £5,000 a year to look after. Anyone wishing to support World Horse Welfare’s rehabilitation of the ‘Dover 26’, can donate via their appeal page HERE

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