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International League For The Protection Of Horses Steps Out At Midlands Equine Fair

In a world where horses can face all manner of abuse and suffering, there is one organisation that has been championing their cause for over three quarters of a century. The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) will be using the Midlands Equine Fair to show visitors just what it is that has made it a success for the last 76 years. The indoor Midlands Equine Fair is taking place completely under cover at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, on 8 and 9 March.

The ILPH was founded in 1927 by Miss Ada Cole, when the ill treatment of horses exported to Europe for slaughter came to her attention. From her initial vision has grown the world's leading international equine welfare charity, attending to the needs of suffering horses wherever they are and however humble their role.

From its head office in Norfolk, the ILPH runs five Recovery and Rehabilitation Centres in the UK that look after as many as 300 equines at any one time. But the charity's role is not just limited to its on-site operations - it employs 16 full-time ILPH field officers, nearly all ex-mounted policemen, who investigate cases of cruelty and neglect, inspect horse markets and ports and give advice on horse welfare. They also check the horses that have been re-homed on the ILPH's horse loan scheme, which currently oversees nearly 1,700 rehabilitated horses and ponies that are currently in approved homes.

One of the ILPH's success stories is that of Arthur. Arthur was taking visitors around Norwich on sight seeing trips between the shafts of an 'omnibus' that was extremely difficult for him to pull because of its bad design. He had open sores on his back and neck where his harness rubbed and around his heels where the horse boots he was wearing also rubbed. On top of this he was malnourished and lame in a hind leg.

His owner had managed to ply his trade in Norwich City Centre by saying that the vehicle was a Horse Omnibus, not a hackney carriage, thus avoiding a licence. Last summer though he was prosecuted for cruelty and was sent to prison for 28 days and, as a result, Arthur came to Hall Farm, the ILPH recovery and rehabilitation centre in Norfolk.

Following lots of rest, good food and physiotherapy Arthur has made a full recovery. He has strengthened up nicely and, contrary to what the Farm Manager thought when he came in, he is between the shafts once again.

Says Jo Carver, ILPH Head driving groom: "I am really pleased with how he has come on, the difference is staggering. He's a lovely little horse and will soon be going out to a loan home. I'll be happy for him, after the life that he has had, but we will all be sad not to have him around any more."

Working in the developing world, the ILPH runs training courses in saddlery, farriery, veterinary care and nutrition. The charity believes that education is the way forward, not only for the welfare of each animal but also for the benefit of their owners - knowledge is a greater force for change than criticism. In this way it creates a caring and sustainable environment for both horse and owner.

One area in which the ILPH is very vocal is political lobbying and direct government contact - which are seen as the best means of influencing legislation to improve equine welfare both at home and abroad. The live transportation of horses for slaughter still remains high on the ILPH agenda and will remain there until current European legislation is adequately enforced or the trade stopped altogether.

John Smales, Chief Executive of the ILPH comments: "It is a sad indictment of the modern world that the cruelties and suffering inflicted on equines 76 years ago are still an issue today. The vision of Ada Cole, our founder, was to do something positive to protect the rights of horses and we are proud to be carrying that vision forward into a new century.

"But we cannot continue our work without the growing commitment of our members and the general public, who have so generously made donations to our funds over the years and who continue to do so. That is why we are delighted to be attending the Midlands Equine Fair, which will give us an ideal opportunity to show visitors our work and to convince them of our cause."

Further information about the ILPH is available by calling 0870 870 1927 or by logging on at

Tickets for the Midlands Equine Fair at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern on 8 and 9 March, are available in advance from Contour Exhibitions & Events by calling 08700 115007 and advance booking discounts are available. Further information and leaflets are available by calling 01884 841644, or by logging on at

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