by Fran Jurga | 8 May 2009 | The Jurga Report
Big news from Britain today: Our friends at World Horse Welfare have notified us that a horse dealer named James Gray and his son James Gray, Junior have today been found guilty on all 11 counts of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the welfare needs of a total of 125 horses. James Gray's wife Julie and daughters Cordelia and Jodie were found guilty on two counts.
It was one of the worst cases of horse welfare abuse in United Kingdom history. In January 2008, 32 horses, ponies and donkeys were found dead and over 100 were removed from Gray's Spindles Farm. Sentencing will take place in four weeks.
The case has become known simply by the town where the farm was located: "Amersham". It's like the Jonestown of the horse world.
World Horse Welfare Field Officer Nick White, who was one of the first at the scene, recalled:
"After seeing the conditions in the fields, it wasn't until I went into the yard that the enormity of it hit me: there were dead horses on the ground in front of me, and to the right. I looked across there was a dead horse in the stalls. It was like walking into another world.
"There were none of the normal noises I associate with a stable yard - horses moving about, eating, drinking, calling out to one another or the gentle noises that horses make when approached, expecting to be fed or cared for. They were totally silent. Even the horses that appeared in better bodily condition seemed to be depressed, almost as if they had lost their dignity."
I have been reporting on this case on The Jurga Report and will see it through to the sentencing but I have to say that I will be glad when it is done; this case is rivaled only by the double-decker trailer wrecks in the USA for horrific horse horrors that have crossed my desk. Ever.