Dead horse from Falkirk equestrian centre found buried

Kingsbarn owner Jackie Kemp strongly denies claims of mistreating animals at her equestrian centre near Shieldhill after several allegations were made on a Facebook page. Picture: Michael Gillen (142080)

Kingsbarn owner Jackie Kemp strongly denies claims of mistreating animals at her equestrian centre near Shieldhill after several allegations were made on a Facebook page. Picture: Michael Gillen (142080)

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A dead horse from an equestrian centre currently under investigation for animal cruelty has been found buried by environmental officers.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has confirmed the remains of a horse belonging to Kingsbarn Equestrian Centre in Westershieldhill were discovered in an adjacent field after a follow-up investigation in response to complaints from the public.

The environmental watchdog was previously called out to the centre on Monday after reports suggested a horse had been buried near a water supply but found no evidence of a horse burial.

A SEPA spokesman said: “SEPA is aware of complaints regarding the burial of a horse in close proximity to a water supply at Kingsbarn Equestrian Centre in Falkirk. SEPA officers visited the site on Monday, November 10 to investigate these claims, however, no evidence of a horse burial was identified.

“Another investigation was carried out yesterday (November 12) in response to further complaints and the remains of one horse has now been identified in a field adjacent to the equestrian centre.

“SEPA officers have instructed the centre, as the owner of the horse, to remove the remains immediately and centre staff have been advised on the correct methods of disposal.

“From inspection, there does not seem to be any impact on the water supply at Kingsbarn Equestrian Centre as a result of this burial.”

Jackie Kemp, the owner of the centre, said the horse was not buried on the centre’s grounds, but was one which had died while in care there.

She said: “The horse was a small pony and it was buried under the guidelines and legislation by the farmer after we consulted the Ministry of Agriculture.”

Miss Kemp also reacted angrily this week to a Facebook page ‘Let’s stop this horse cruelty’ which was set up last week and said the allegations are a “witchhunt”.

The Scottish SPCA has visited the equine centre and officers are investigating the claims made on the Facebook page, which include video footage of a dying horse and squalid living conditions. Former employees have also accused Miss Kemp of cruelty towards animals.

The SSPCA, which has prosecution powers, confirmed an investigation is ongoing but could not comment further.

Miss Kemp, who was cleared of causing unnecessary suffering to animals following a trial last year, said she is suing the person who set up the Facebook page up for “slander”, and is openly inviting animal welfare organisations or individuals to check the premises to ease concerns.

“These are all false allegations that have been made against me and I am taking legal action against whoever set this Facebook page up – 100 per cent,” she said this week.

“The SSPCA, the Ministry of Agriculture and everyone else have found no evidence at all to back up the allegations. “This is a witchhunt following on from the trial – when I was cleared I have to add – last November.”

The Facebook page was set up anonymously on November 3 and photos are posted on it of skinny horses, a dead horse in a field and other images of bad conditions in stables

Mrs Kemp says some of the pictures were not taken on her premises – in particular the one featuring the dead horse. She added: “I rescue a lot of horses so some of them are in a bad condition when I get them. I love horses and do this because I am passionate about them.”

The Facebook site was contacted by The Falkirk Herald but no one responded.

Police Scotland visited the centre but confirmed no criminality had taken place at this stage.