Calderdale farm awaiting results after 18 horses died after alleged 'poisoning'

Vets investigating the deaths of up to 18 horses at stables in Ripponden are awaiting test results from a lab in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 9:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 9:49 am

Owners of horses kept at Clough House Liveries at Clough House Farm in Soyland are demanding answers over how their animals died.

Vets from Hird & Partners in Shelf are leading the investigation and have sent samples for analysis.

The Courier reported last month how horses died at the stables after eating what was believed to be a poisonous food source.

Owners of horses kept at Clough House Liveries at Clough House Farm in Soyland are demanding answers over how their animals died
Owners of horses kept at Clough House Liveries at Clough House Farm in Soyland are demanding answers over how their animals died

Vets say there is no cause for wider concern as the deaths are being treated as an 'isolated incident'.

Owners’ fears that the cause of the deaths was botulism, powerful toxins which attack the nervous system including the brain and spine causing paralysis, have been denied by the vets.

One of the owners told the Courier that it was now believed 18 horses had died and another was still being treated however the vets have refused to confirm this.

Sally Strachan, advanced practitioner in veterinary anaesthesia at Hird & Partners, described the incident as 'harrowing' and 'unprecedented'.

In a statement she said: “Following some of the queries we have received we would like to reiterate that this is an isolated incident on one farm.

“The food source has been identified and removed and poses no risk to other animals and people.

“There is absolutely no suggestion that there was any deliberate intention to harm any of the horses concerned. This is not a contagious condition and there have been no new cases.

“Toxicological examination of our samples is a lengthy and difficult business involving foreign laboratories.

“Although we are highly suspicious of the identity of the actual toxin, due to the clinical signs seen, we are unable to confirm anything at this stage.

“Once we have all the information we hope to share any lessons we have learned in diagnosis, treatment or indeed prevention in order that something positive and constructive may be achieved.”