Sunday, April 6, 2014
Almost 200 of the British Army’s horses have been destroyed in the past ten years, the Sunday People can reveal.
It is the latest scandal to emerge over the military’s treatment of animals .
Among the horses killed were around 20 that were physically healthy but were said to have dangerous temperaments.
Others were put down because of untreatable medical conditions.
Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request show that in 2011 and again in 2013 a horse was killed by Ministry of Defence vets on average every 17 days.
And despite the MoD claiming that destroying its steeds is a last resort, more were destroyed than re-homed in the years 2006 and 2010.
Since 2003, 44 horses have been killed after being diagnosed with severe arthritis and 19 have been put down because of irrecoverable tendon injuries.
Of those destroyed since 2010, nine had dangerous temperaments, eight were diagnosed with an untreatable injury and six suffered from colic.
The need to kill so many animals was questioned by a leading equine vet, who highlighted the wide range of treatments available.
The vet, who asked not to be named, said: “The destruction of a horse every 17 days should raise concerns. That is a very worrying statistic.
"I’d like to know why euthanasia was regarded as the only appropriate treatment.
“I’ve no reason to believe that these horses are not being properly cared for. But the term ‘dangerous temperament’ can be quite broad.
“I would like to know exactly what these conditions were and why the decision to euthanise them was taken.
“Any major leg problems suffered by horses can have severe consequences. But many of these issues can be managed with the right treatment.
“It’s always a balance between quality of life and suffering.
"I would sincerely hope that euthanasia is only used when every other medical option has been considered and not because it’s the most cost-effective option.”
The Army has around 500 horses, mostly serving in the King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery and the Household Cavalry.
They play a vital role in ceremonies like Changing of the Guard and Trooping the Colour at the Queen’s Birthday Parade.
The MoD recently came under fire after it emerged that more than 288 military dogs were killed in three years due to illness and dangerous temperaments.
The Sunday People also revealed last December that the military killed 28,000 pigs , rabbits, monkeys and guinea pigs in experiments in three years.
The MoD denied horses are put down to save cash.
A spokesperson said: “The majority of horses are re-homed at the end of their service but our priority has to be their welfare.
"Sadly, we sometimes have to put down animals that are in pain, have debilitating diseases or are a danger to others.
"That is a last resort, based on veterinary advice.”
Source: The Mirror
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