AN ANIMAL-welfare charity is making an appeal after horses in a 'desperate state' were found around a village.

The RSPCA is appealing for help as the charity investigates 59 horses being abandoned in and around Highclere over the past four months.

The desperate plea comes after eight more horses were rescued on Thursday, 18 January, after Hampshire Constabulary Country Watch team obtained and executed a search warrant after concerns were raised about the welfare of the horses.

The latest rescue comes after 26 horses were seized in one go from fields in the village in October - with a total of 59 rescued from the same area over recent months after vets confirmed they were suffering or their needs not being met.

None of the horses seized have microchips so the charity is encouraging anyone who knows more to get in touch.

RSPCA inspector Jan Edwards said: “It’s been heartbreaking to see so many horses in desperate need and we are very grateful to the police, vets, and other charities who have worked together to help these horses.

“In total 59 horses have been rescued and they are now getting the care and rehabilitation they deserve.

“We will always investigate cases of animal welfare reported to us, and do all we can to protect and secure the welfare of the animals involved, but we rely on the public to be our eyes and ears in these situations.

“We can only investigate when we have information and evidence about who may have abandoned an animal so we are urging anyone who has any information about these horses to call us on 0300 123 8018, in complete confidence.”

Sergeant Andrew Williams, from Hampshire Constabulary Country Watch, added: “Whilst we are pleased to work in conjunction with the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare to give these horses a better life, the priority remains in finding those responsible for allowing them to get in this condition."

The RSPCA has recently launched a fundraising plea to give horse-lovers an opportunity to help tackle an ongoing equine crisis nationwide.

The charity has seen an enormous increase in the number of horses coming into its care - with almost three a day being rescued.

There are currently more than 850 horses, donkeys and ponies being cared for by the RSPCA who have launched a a stable sponsorship scheme to help care for rescued equines until they are ready for rehoming.

To find out more, call 0300 123 0346 or visit