- Honorable Keith ColwellNova Scotia Legislature
Save the Horses of Breighmara and Create Nova Scotian Legislation Protecting Equines!
The horses of Breighmara Equestrian Centre, formerly an equine rescue affiliated with the SPCA, are in immediate danger. They are starving and many are dehyrated. In the last year, eight (8) have died, four (4) of them in the last four weeks alone, two (2) within 48 hours of each other.
The stories coming out of Breighmara from boarders, lesson members, and concerned horse lovers all tell of starvation, horses being fed moldy hay, horses desperately dragging their handlers to water, and developing rain rot (a coat and skin wasting condition) from being left outside with little to no access to shelter. These horses are ridden and worked just as hard as healthy, fit horses are and some are competed provincially, including at the Maritime Fall Fair. There are horses of all ages at this barn, including a young foal. Horses have been shot and their bodies burned on this property.
Why is this happening? Because Nova Scotia says it's acceptable. Horses are listed as "livestock" under current legislation. There is no formal protection for livestock in NS. There are guidelines and bare minimums that are suggested, but there are no laws protecting them from cruelty. In fact, the SPCA no longer investigates equine abuse or neglect complaints.
The closest thing to protection these horses have is the Code from the National Farm Council of Canada. This form, linked below, contains guidelines and rules for the treatment and handling of horses. These guidelines, however, are not laws and Breighmara's blatant violations of them are not resulting in any charges or removal of the animals from the property.
Per the NS Animal Welfare Act, Breighmara is also in violation:PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
21 (1) No person shall cause an animal to be in distress.
(2) No owner of an animal or person in charge of an animal shall permit the animal to be in distress.
(3) For the purpose of subsection (2), the owner of an animal or the person in charge of an animal does not permit the animal to be in distress if the owner or person in charge takes immediate appropriate steps to relieve the distress.
(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if the distress, pain, suffering or injury results from an activity carried on in the practise of veterinary medicine, or in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal management, husbandry or slaughter or an activity exempted by the regulations.
(5) Subsection (3) does not apply if the owner of an animal or the person in charge of an animal has demonstrated a pattern of causing or permitting any animal to be in distress.
This needs to change. What happens if these rules aren't enforced? Nothing. This needs to change. What happens if horses are being starved, neglected, and abused? Nothing. This needs to change. The voices who've signed this petition are speaking for those who can't, for those who's deaths and ravaged bodies speak volumes, yet have been ignored. Humans have domesticated and taken responsibility for these animals. We can't leave them in a wooden box with no food or water. Horses in Nova Scotia need protection, they need legislation, they need laws.
- Nova Scotia Legislature
Honorable Keith Colwell
The over ten-thousand undersigned are urging, pleading with you to please provide legislation directly protecting equines in Nova Scotia. Your department has been receiving complaints about the condition of the horses at Breighmara for nearly two years and for nearly two years, we've been told there is an ongoing investigation into the property. How many animals have to die before this investigation can conclude and the survivors be removed? What are we seeing that the investigation is not? How can any veterinarian see these horses, emaciated and balding, and claim that is an acceptable way to live? The Department of Agriculture has a responsibility not just to these horses, but to all horses of NS. By becoming Minister, you agreed to manage this department and by continuing to call the condition of dying animals acceptable, you are failing. We understand the horses of Breighmara cannot currently be removed by law enforcement, which is why we are demanding the laws change. We are demanding laws be created so this neglect does not continue. The Breighmara horses are not an isolated case and cases like these only exist because you allow it to be so. There are over ten-thousand people, from all over the world angered by this neglect and demanding better protection. It's time you acknowledged these cries and made the move to create legislation protecting equines.
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