The RSPCA today launches its new strategy for animal welfare which focuses on increasing partnership work with equine charities in a bid to bring an end to the decade-long horse crisis.

The charity’s unique rescue and vital care activities will remain central to its work and it wants to improve its ability to help horses in need by seeking statutory powers for its frontline rescuers, enabling them to reach suffering animals quicker.

The ten year strategy - Together for Animal Welfare - sets out a ‘more joined-up animal welfare response’ by working in partnership with other charities, communities and animal lovers.

Roxane Kirton, the RSPCA’s senior equine clinician said: “We’re lucky that already we have an excellent working relationship with members of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) and we will be looking to step-up our collaborative work with the other equine charities.”

At its height the RSPCA had more than 900 horses in it’s care but during 2020 that number has reduced to 673 through a surge in rehoming and also transferring some horses and ponies into the care of other charities.

Roxane, who used to work at Redwings, said: “Despite our numbers reducing we are still as committed as bringing an end to the horse crisis which started in 2008 and has turned into a horse catastrophe.

“As the name of our new strategy suggests we know we are more powerful when we act with others than on our own. We remain positive that this is something we can get a grip of if we work together.

“Education and changing the attitudes and behaviour of some horse owners is also vital for solving this dreadful problem, and we have some fantastic educational initiatives between us as charities that I’m confident will pave the way for a better future for our horses.”

Chief Executive Chris Sherwood said the charity added: “Our frontline rescue and care work saving animals 365 days a year will continue to be at the heart of what we do.

“Despite being a global health pandemic with the country lockdown for months there were still more than a million calls to our rescue line last year and our frontline officers looked into almost 100,000 complaints of animal cruelty.

“The need for the RSPCA is as great as ever and we are determined no animal is left behind.

“But the world is changing and we recognise we can’t do it alone. To achieve our ambitious aims for animal welfare, we will partner with volunteers, communities, RSPCA branches, colleagues in the welfare sector and beyond, to reach the animals who need us most.”

The charity has created a strategy with eight ambitious priorities for animal welfare by 2030 to change life for the better for all types of animals both in England and Wales and abroad.

  1. Reduce cruelty by half - We’ll reduce‌ ‌neglect,‌ ‌abuse‌ ‌and‌ ‌cruelty‌ ‌to‌ ‌companion‌ ‌animals‌, ‌including‌ ‌exotic‌ ‌pets‌, ‌in‌ ‌England‌ ‌and‌ ‌Wales‌ ‌by‌ ‌50‌ ‌percent.‌ ‌
  2. Prevent ‘petfishing’ - We’ll end‌ ‌the‌ ‌illegal‌ ‌selling‌ ‌of‌ ‌puppies‌ ‌and‌ ‌kittens‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌UK.‌ ‌
  3. Boost farm animal welfare - We’ll see more than half of all ‌UK’s‌ ‌farm‌ ‌animals‌ reared ‌to‌ ‌RSPCA‌ ‌welfare‌ ‌standards‌. We’ll ‌encourage‌ ‌people‌ ‌to:‌ ‌eat‌ ‌less, ‌eat‌ ‌better‌ ‌by‌ ‌encouraging‌ ‌people‌ ‌to‌ ‌eat‌ ‌less‌ ‌meat,‌ ‌fish,‌ ‌eggs‌ ‌and‌ ‌dairy‌ ‌from‌ ‌low‌-welfare‌ ‌farms ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌only‌ ‌choose‌ ‌higher‌-welfare‌ ‌labels.‌ ‌ ‌
  4. End severe suffering in research - We’ll secure‌ ‌a‌ ‌global‌ ‌commitment‌ ‌to‌ ‌developing,‌ ‌validating‌ ‌and‌ ‌accepting‌ ‌non-animal‌ ‌technologies‌ ‌to‌ ‌replace‌ ‌animal‌ ‌experiments,‌ ‌and‌ ‌put‌ ‌an‌ ‌end‌ ‌to‌ ‌severe‌ ‌suffering‌ ‌for‌ ‌laboratory‌ ‌animals.‌ ‌
  5. Secure legal protection for animals - Establish‌ ‌animal‌ ‌protection‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌significant‌ ‌UK‌ ‌governmental‌ ‌goal‌ ‌supported‌ ‌by‌ ‌an‌ ‌independent‌ ‌public‌ ‌body,‌ ‌legally‌ ‌established,‌ ‌an‌ ‌Animal‌ ‌Protection‌ ‌Commission.‌ ‌
  6. Help our inspectors rescue animals sooner - We’ll achieve‌ ‌statutory‌ ‌powers‌ ‌in‌ ‌England‌ ‌and‌ ‌Wales‌ ‌for‌ ‌RSPCA‌ ‌inspectors‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌Animal‌ ‌Welfare‌ ‌Act‌ ‌2006.‌ ‌ ‌
  7. Get the UN on board for animals - We’ll secure‌ ‌the‌ ‌adoption‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌United‌ ‌Nations‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌comprehensive‌ ‌Universal‌ ‌Declaration‌ ‌on‌ ‌Animal‌ ‌Welfare.‌ ‌
  8. Inspire a one million-strong movement for animal welfare by 2030 - We’ll use our new Community Engagement Programme to mobilise more people to help us help animals.

Chris added: “Like all charities, we’ve faced unprecedented challenges in the past year due to coronavirus and our strategy reflects that. But at a time of enormous change and uncertainty about the future there are some things we can depend on. The RSPCA is one of them. We will rescue and protect animals for as long as they need us.”

To find out more about the RSPCA’s new strategy - Together for Animal Welfare - visit their website.