Animal Aid

The Trial of James Gray, Horse Dealer

Posted 10 December 2008

A Statement from Animal Aid

The case of James Gray, owner of Spindles Farm, Buckinghamshire, who stands accused of causing neglect and unnecessary suffering to animals, has brought the dark world of horse trading and slaughter into the spotlight.

In January this year, RSPCA officers removed more than 100 horses and donkeys from Gray’s premises. Bicester Magistrates Court has heard that many of the animals were emaciated, filthy and too weak to stand. Some were said to have been penned with the rotting remains of other animals, and four equines had to be euthanased on the spot because they were so ill. It has been reported that many were sold to Gray for as little as £1 and that they were destined for slaughter so that their meat could be sold abroad.

Whilst this case is extreme and shocking, we must not be tempted to believe that this is a ‘one-off’ situation. Animal Aid’s research demonstrates that horses – including Thoroughbred race horses – are mass-produced for profit. Those animals who are unwanted or deemed ‘useless’ inevitably end up being sold on by dealers and many will make their final journey to an abattoir.

As long as animals are treated as mere commodities – to be bred, traded and killed for cash – then gross neglect will always occur. The government must step in and curb the reckless behaviour of animal breeders, and make them legally responsible for the upkeep and good health of all the animals they produce. Until this happens, organisations like the RSPCA will always be one step behind, picking up the pieces, and animals will continue to suffer and be exploited.

Notes to Editors

  • For further information and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546.

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