I was half asleep last night when an empty horse box left our yard. I was awake when it returned at 3am. A big box with a tiny foal a few weeks old inside. Yes, another one. Foal season is up there now with kitten season in the rescue world as one you dread. You see most arrive in ill-health, and at a few weeks old, well, milk replacer does not come close to warm motherly milk. Their cries for their mommy cut deeply into a heart that breaks for them.
Let me tell you about Cillian. He was thrown onto the streets of Limerick City. God forbid, the owners let a foal stay with his mum. I mean he’s a boy after all and he doesn’t have that perfect coloured coat. Yes, let’s start again boys and get that mare (his mum) covered again with that big piebald who has covered half of Limerick city. Never mind the STIs.
Before Cillian last weekend there was a foal called Oran, born to a thoroughbred mare. Yes, someone sold their in-foal thoroughbred mares to a man who dumps foals devoid of that much sought after colour scheme. The thoroughbred mares probably came from yards with buckets of fresh water and grassy paddocks. Now they are tied to poles – adding to the equine dots in a busy urban landscape. Luckily for Oran, great rescue friends took him in.
Why should you care? Well, I guess none of us should be OK with intentional cruelty. We all should seek a society where laws are adhered to. All these horses are illegally held: the ones running in estates, at the side of motorways, and tied to fences. The ones with wormy bellies, bones protruding, and that look of loss in their eyes.
If the law was enforced they would never be there and Cillian might just be waking up this morning suckling off his mum. Instead he’s in another box on the way for emergency veterinary treatment.
This morning I tried to get him to drink from a bottle. This morning I saw a baby who just didn’t want to be in this world anymore. He wanted to give up so we have to do the opposite and be his life-line till he wants to live again. That is if the last few days of starvation haven’t decided his fate already.
The new Minister of Agriculture better steer the welfare ship better than the last minister. And he better tell his well-paid welfare crew that it’s time to do their bloody job or get off board.