Horsebox horror leads to calls for tougher laws
A SHERBORNE man is campaigning for tougher laws after witnessing the aftermath when horses have been dragged along the road when trailers have collapsed.
He claims horses are suffering horrific injuries and death as owners drive them in trailers riddled with rot and rust.
And he fears the toll will rise unless laws are changed to bring in a tougher inspection regime.
The man does not want to give his full name claiming he has had malicious texts from people who do not want to face mandatory higher standards of vehicles and trailers because of the costs.
Thinking of buying a new computer for Christmas?
Save 10% on all Windows 7 Custom Built Desktop Computer Packages. Gaming PC's, Media Centres & More!!
Windows Desktops Only, Purchased before 12/12/13.
Package Includes Tower, Screen, Keyboard & Mouse.
Domestic Customers Only
Contact: 0845 0177033
Valid until: Thursday, December 12 2013
But Gary, who lives in the Sherborne area and is an expert in welding and vehicle repairs, says laws are poorly defined and must change.
And he wants to raise awareness of what happens when trailer floors collapse through rot and horses plunge onto the road while being driven along.
He said he knows of accidents in the Dorset and New Forest area where horses have suffered devastating injuries.
Gary said: "I know of one where a horse lost both front legs and had to be put down at the scene and another where a horse's back legs went through the floor - it survived but had terrible injuries.
"We're supposed to be a nation of animal lovers but I would guess that one in five trailers and horseboxes are not safe to transport horses in.
"Apart from anything else, these are dangers for other road users.
"People spend a lot of money on the vehicles to tow these trailers and on their horses but they don't want to pay to maintain their trailers and horseboxes properly.
"You're not talking about a lot of money - £400 to replace a rotten plywood floor with an aluminium one.
"But unless the laws for horse transportation change, people will carry on using rotten trailers and horseboxes."
Gary said laws covering other livestock vehicles are more stringent and he has contacted West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin to address legislation on horse transport.
He said: "It's got worse because of the wet weather we've had and the way trailers are left out.
"You think of the weight of a horse on a floor of rotten plywood.
"I can't find anyone else taking action on this but something has got to be done. People are playing Russian roulette."
Gary has contacted the RSPCA, DEFRA and veterinary organisations.
Oliver Letwin said: "This is a serious concern and I have raised it with the RSPCA.
"It seems to me that they are clearly the right people to pursue this. I am currently waiting to hear from them."
Gary said owners should check their vehicles' floors monthly for any signs of rot.
He said: "Prevention is better than cure - and when your horsebox is not in use take out the rubber matting, wash the floor and allow it to dry."
He also urged horsebox owners to be extra vigilant where water tanks are fitted.
He said: "These can carry 750lbs of water and I've seen supports for these tanks rusted and rotted out. It doesn't take much for the whole lot to collapse."
See pictures on www.blackmorevale.co.uk website.