A Wiltshire abattoir has been found guilty of animal welfare offences, after a horse which could not walk, could hardly breathe and kept falling over was sent on for transport.

F Drury & Sons, of Tockenham and L J Potter of Somerset, with the director of both companies, Stephen Potter, were fined £22,170 plus £10k costs by Aldershot Magistrates Court.

In 2018, L J Potter Ltd transported a horse from Northern Ireland along with other horses to Drury’s abattoir. As the horses were being unloaded a grey mare was found to be lying on her side and unable to rise. CCTV footage showed the horse attempting to stand 5 times, but continually falling over until eventually she managed to stand unable to bear weight on her right fore leg and reluctant to move.

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The court heard evidence that either a vet should have been called or she should have been put down. Instead, the court heard that Stephen Potter instructed the driver to transport the mare to his farm in Somerset.The mare was left alone at the abattoir overnight until seen by a vet who said the animal needed immediate destruction.

District Judge, Tim Pattinson, said that Mr Potter had shown an excessively relaxed approach to the problem and had underplayed the pain and suffering of the horse.

The case was brought by Wiltshire Council Trading Standards.