In 2015 the BEVA Trust joined forces with The British Horse Society (BHS) and many other major horse welfare charities. The project aims is to open lines of communication with owners whose horses are deemed “at risk” through the provision of subsidised castration, microchipping and tetanus vaccination along with dental health checks and farriery is available. The BEVA Trust contribute to these events by coordinating the necessary veterinary expertise.
Over the past three years the BHS has coordinated a number of events which have been delivered working with partners including local veterinary practices and the BEVA Trust. These events not only help to get new groups of horse owners engaged with veterinary care but also have direct benefits in terms of equine identification, some reduction in indiscriminate breeding and some protection from disease.
Field Officers from the BHS, WHW and RSPCA identify “appropriate cases” for these clinics and the owners are invited to register for the clinic where they will, for a fee and subject to certain provisos, be castrated and microchipped. “Appropriate cases” must meet a number of criteria including that they come from within a 20-mile radius and the Field Officer must consider that the colt/stallion would not be castrated were it not for the clinic.
All known equine veterinary practices covering the source area are contacted with the date, venue and rationale for the clinics (many offer to help). They are also asked if they would be willing to provide emergency call out cover after the event should any post-operative complications arise. The contact details of the appropriate practices are given to the owners along with very comprehensive (illustrated) discharge notes. All attendees receive check-up calls from the BHS a few days after the castration.
Whilst there is a clear contract in place stating any follow-up fees are to be covered by the horse owner, the BHS are ultimately responsible for any reasonable unpaid bills. Owners will bring colts and stallions to the site where they are castrated on a “conveyor belt” system which enables twenty or more horses to be castrated in a day. All horses must be booked on to the day in advance and are given a specific timeslot.
A lead veterinary surgeon (LVS) is always identified and is responsible for overseeing the successful running of the veterinary team on the day. Any questions or queries can be discussed with the LVS. Each vet will be placed with a colleague or individual depending on experience. Handlers are always available to help with holding each of the ponies/horses if the owner prefers not to be present.
No horse is allowed to leave the site without authorisation from the supervising vet.