In early January 2008, 115 horses, ponies and donkeys were seized by police officers from the Appellants’ premises in Buckinghamshire. These seizures followed the certifications of numerous veterinary surgeons present at the premises, all of whom stated that the seized animals were either suffering or likely to suffer if their circumstances did not change. The conditions faced by the various clinicians and prosecuting authorities attending the premises were appalling: a number of the equines discovered required immediate euthanasia, and equine carcases in various stages of decay were discovered alongside the living. Never before has a prosecution agency had cause to seize such a large number of equines.
After a trial lasting some months, Robert Seabrook QC and Iain O’Donnell successfully resisted the appeals brought. All of the Appellants’ original sentences were increased accordingly.
A number of legal issues arising from the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (under which both civil and criminal proceedings were brought against the Appellants) were clarified during the course of the appeal. The 135 page judgment, handed down by the Recorder of Aylesbury on Thursday 6 May 2010, can be found here.