Following major welfare concerns of the horses belonging to the South African Army in April 2018, the NSPCA was finally granted the ownership of 69 horses.
In April 2018, horses were found to be dying of starvation while in the care of the South African Army Special Infantry Capability (SAASIC) Unit at the Potchefstroom Base of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). The SAASIC Unit had failed to procure feed to ensure their upkeep. The horses were therefore forced to eat soil and their own faeces and their condition had perilously deteriorated. 25 horses had to be euthanased due to their condition.
Some three months have passed and with ongoing communication, the NSPCA removed 69 horses from the South African Army.
On 23 and 24 July 2018, the NSPCA, with the assistance of New Turf Carriers, loaded and relocated 69 horses from Potchefstroom to a large farm in Gauteng where all their needs will be adequately provided for.
The loading and transportation of the horses went seamlessly and the horses were offloaded into a beautiful and vast area that is completely different to the baron environment from where they have come. The farm has an infinite amount of space for the horses to roam freely with natural grazing, stables and abundant enrichment; shaded with trees and wide open spaces for the horses to enjoy some sunshine, with water sources which provide a place for the horses to cool off and wallow in – it is an environment that offers the horses both physical and mental well-being.
“It was an emotional and moving experience to watch the horses exiting the truck and familiarising themselves with their new environment, with seeing notable relief as they realised that, with every step, they were in a place of safety, a place that they would be free and cared for. The most humbling moment was when they allowed us to witness their delight by playing and splashing in water and rolling around in the grass, as if to acknowledge their freedom to be horses,” said NSPCA Executive Director, Marcelle Meredith.
Sincere appreciation is expressed to New Turf Carriers for assisting in the transportation of the horses; Meadow Feeds, a subsidiary of Astral for the provision of feed and to the people who are assisting with the care and housing of these horses all of whom assisted rapidly and on incredibly short notice. Without this support, this would not have been possible.
These horses are wild and have never known human touch and not all the horses are in good condition – the kind of care, including veterinary care, that they require is costly and a huge strain on our already limited resources. If members of the public would like to contribute to the upkeep of these horses, they can donate here and use the reference: Army Horses.