Horses are noble, gallant creatures shaped by desert winds and bred by men over the centuries - forming a partnership for farming, transport, labour, war, riot control, hunting, sport and pleasure. Unfortunately with such growth there is always a downside - this being the abuse or neglect of horses.
To recognise and honour this historical equine-human bond, the SPCA Equine Welfare Fund was founded on 29th March 2006. This fund aims to facilitate a comprehensive system of reporting, rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming - with prosecution of owners in more extreme cases and aid in less extreme cases - and to set up a SPCA Selangor Equine Welfare Centre for suitable horses seized by the Dept. of Veterinary Services (DVS). The fund also aims to promote equine welfare education, protect, prevent or suppress equine abuse, cruelty or neglect and to provide or procure humane euthanasia services for aged, ill, unsound or dangerous equine to prevent these animals from being subjected to further abuse.
The Centre was set up in 2007 and is the first of its kind in Malaysia, based at the Awana Horse Spelling Station. The operator of the station Rick Jones has kindly allowed SPCA to stay at cost, and has allocated up to ten stables for our use. The Station is also home to many neutered SPCA cats that are cared for by a caretaker and have the run of the place! Since its inception, the Selangor SPCA Equine Welfare Centre has received two horses – Dillon and Derek – who were legally taken away from their negligent owner and placed under SPCA’s care.
Reported Cases of Cruelty To Horses
Thus far, we have had a few reports about ranches in Sabah, Johor, and Malacca :
In 2007, we received a report via email about two horses in a very sorry state. The owner agreed to put down one horse and promised to care better for the other horse. The management of the yard has promised to keep tabs on how the horses are doing and from time to time reports back to us on this. The horse’s condition is slowly improving, though far from satisfactory.
Melingsung Ranch, Sabah
We received a phone call about an endurance ranch in Melingsung, Sabah. Horses there were in very distressing health conditions. SPCA had actively called for harsher action against the owner via phone calls and media - including a letter to the Chief Minister, the Deparment of Veterinary Services (DVS), Federation Equestrian International (FEI), the Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM) - for seizure and prosecution so that the animals can be put down or rehabilitated. The public was barred from entry to this place, with the DVS promising to check on the horses at 3 month intervals. Despite this, reports continued to pour in – highlighting the fact that an estimated 70-80 horses had died in a span of 9 months. Unfortunately, even though the outcry internationally was overwhelming – the owner was not prosecuted. He is attempting to sell off his horses and ranch at current time.
We received a report from Johor SPCA about two horses in near-death conditons. Upon inspection by the Johor SPCA, it was found that there was only one horse remaining. Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary very kindly took in the horse at no cost to SPCA and is currently rehabilitating it.
We received a report via email about a beach-riding ranch. When Selangor SPCA went to investigate, there were no horses - a common problem as the ranch owners may have got wind of the complaint. This was not the first report we received about the operation, so we are certain that there are horses there but they may have been moved to another location hastily.
Please visit the SPCA Selangor Equine Welfare blog at http://selangorspcaequine.org