Horses left to survive by eating bark
A DISMAYED Swansea woman has described seeing tethered horses struggling to survive in Blaenymaes.
The 52-year-old, who did not want to be named, said the RSPCA and Swansea Council had this week taken away a mother and foal which had resorted to eating tree bark.
"They were chained right by a tree and had got tangled up," said the woman.
"The mother was getting really agitated — and they could not bend to get the food I had brought them. They were both stuck in mud and the mother was eating bark."
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She said that last week she had come across a horse that had got its head stuck in railings while trying to reach some greenery the other side.
"His head was jammed, and he was kicking his back legs out," she said. "It really upset me."
She said the horse was later led away from the spot.
The woman, from Fforestfach, said she was part of a group that took carrots, apples and peelings to tethered horses if they looked in need of food.
She said some horses in the Blaenymaes area didn't appear to have been moved over Christmas and New Year.
"They were in the same position, day and day out, and you know all the rain we had," she said.
The woman speculated that some owners could simply not afford to care for their animals. She added that one owner was trying her best, putting a coat on two horses and bringing straw and hay.
Many abandoned horses from South West Wales are taken in by Bransby Home of Rest For Horses, which has centres in Worcestershire and Lincolnshire.
First they are micro-chipped and wormed.
"It can take time for them to gain trust in people," said Bransby head of equine operations Philip York.
He said the recession and over-breeding had resulted in a big rise in abandoned horses and fly-grazing.
"Within the industry we are calling it a crisis," said Mr York. "We are facing an unprecedented number of horses looking for homes."