A dodgy horse dealer has been fined £10,000 for trying to export ponies from Essex to the continent.
James Harbour was found guilty by Colchester magistrates court on 29 June of a number of offences including exporting horses and ponies without health certificates, forging export licences and travelling horses without passports.
It was a World Horse Welfare field officer who discovered that Harbour had been exporting equines through the port of Harwich in Essex. They then passed on this valuable information to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency’s (AHVLA), who monitored the dealer’s movements before deciding upon the appropriate action to take.
“The valuable intelligence that World Horse Welfare provided alerted us to Mr. Harbour’s increased export activity and to concerns that he was attempting to flout rules designed to both protect the welfare of animals and prevent the spread of animal diseases,” said a spokesperson for the AHVLA.
Not only is compliance with health and welfare legislation vital to protect the horse industry from contagious diseases, but there are welfare concerns when horses are transported out of the country without the necessary checks and paperwork.
“It often means the dealers responsible cut corners on welfare too,” said Tony Tyler, WHF deputy chief executive. “I hope this case sends a clear message to those who do not follow the rules that they can be found out. It’s an important part of our field officers’ jobs to speak to people in their local communities and we get a lot of useful information that way.”
If you have any information which you think may be of help to the WHF, you can email them anonymously with information.