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6 - 9 June 2019

Appleby Horse Fair

More animal welfare incidents ‘reflective of a much busier fair’ says RSPCA

Below released on behalf of the RSPCA


A significantly higher number of people issued with advice at this year’s Appleby Horse Fair* was ‘reflective of a much busier fair’ according to RSPCA chief inspector Rob Melloy.


198 people were given advice during the five-day event - which began on Thursday (7 June) and finished today (Monday 11 June) - up from 168 last year. The number of warnings was also up from 12 to 14**.


Chief Inspector Melloy said: “Around 1,200 caravans were counted on Saturday, compared to around 990 last year, and whilst it’s difficult to count the number of horses it definitely seemed as though numbers were much higher, as you’d expect.


“The higher numbers of advice issued are reflective of a much busier fair during which exhaustion of horses was one of our main concerns. Whilst the warm weather may have played a part, we were seeing people working their horses to the point of failing exhaustion tests and we have four ongoing investigations as a result.


“Disappointingly we still had people arriving at the fair and leaving dogs in cars. We had two incidents on Friday - one where we were able to rescue the dogs as the car door was not locked and a second where the owner arrived back as officers were about to take action to enter the car.


“In both cases the dogs involved were checked over and found not to have suffered. They were returned to their owners with a warning.”


The RSPCA sent 33 officers to this year’s fair. It is the charity’s biggest deployment of staff and the biggest multi-agency event of the year, with six other horse organisations also involved.


Blue Cross sent five people from their horse team and two from education. Bransby Horses sent a team of five people. The Donkey Sanctuary sent five donkey welfare advisers and one vet. Redwings Horse Sanctuary had six staff in attendance - three veterinary surgeons, a senior field officer, their education and campaigns manager, and a campaigns officer. World Horse Welfare sent five field officers and one UK support officer.


All of the animal welfare charities - all members of the National Equine Welfare Council - along with The British Horse Society (BHS) also manned an information and education tent on Salt Tip Corner where Gypsies and travellers were able to share knowledge and discuss issues relating to horse care. Now in its eighth year, the tent continues to grow in popularity thanks to interactive activities including specimens of real horse parasites and body condition scoring.


Fifteen welfare awards were handed out by vets as part of Redwings’ campaign to recognise and champion horses in outstanding condition. Another five junior awards were made to the next generation of owners, who all demonstrated excellent care and attention to ensure the health and happiness of their horses. Pre-fair, owner advice films aimed at debunking myths also had an impact with fair-goers approaching welfare colleagues to discuss issues such as when to offer water and how long to rest their horse. Meanwhile former winners were eager to participate in new advisory videos on river safety and fitness at the fair.


Chief Inspector Melloy said: “I’d like to say thank you to all of our partner charities who come together at Appleby every year to work together towards our shared goal. I also want to say thank you to Cumbria Constabulary for their fantastic support.”




Notes to editors

*Appleby Fair is unique in Europe and, as well as attracting around 10,000 Gypsies and travellers, over 30,000 other visitors attend the fair, with Sunday being the traditional main visitors’ day. It transforms the town of Appleby for the week, as it normally has a population of around 2,500.


The fair has been in existence for at least 300 years, and probably longer. It is the largest horse fair in Britain and amongst the oldest in Europe.


The fair has a primary connection with Fair Hill, which is in the ownership of Appleby Town Council. Much of the horse dealing takes place at the crossroads by Fair Hill, and on the Sands by the River Eden, where nearby roads are closed for periods to allow horses to be shown and



Multi Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG)


In October 2007, the Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) was set up to bring together and co-ordinate the work of the key public agencies that have a regulatory role at the



The MASCG consists of representatives from the Gypsy and traveller community, Eden

District Council, Cumbria Constabulary, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Cumbria NHS, North West Ambulance Service, RSPCA, Environment Agency, South

Lakeland District Council, Highways Agency and HMRC. The objective is to make the fair a safer and more enjoyable event for residents, Gypsies and travellers and visitors.


For the latest information about Appleby Horse Fair 2018 visit http://www.applebyfair.org/, follow http://twitter.com/ApplebyFair on Twitter or visit the Appleby Horse Fair Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ApplebyHorseFair


**For full table of incidents email Leanne Plumtree




Contact: Leanne Plumtree

Senior Regional Press Officer

Mobile: 07714 138221



E-mail: [email protected]





Duty press officer (evenings and weekends)

07825 158490