Monday, July 17, 2006

Another Strasser Trimmer Charged with Cruelty in the UK

Portions of this text appeared in the British horse magazine, Horse & Hound:

An English woman has appeared in British court accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a pony by using the Strasser barefoot method of hoofcare.

In her trial, the trimmer denied two charges of causing suffering to "Brambles" between 3 June and 20 July 2004.

Brambles came into the trimmer's care in January 2004 after the previous owner could do nothing more to treat her laminitis. The pony was seized by the RSPCA on 20 July 2004 when she was found with "mutilated" hooves, walking with crossed legs and barely able to move.

The court heard how the trimmer had undergone training in the Strasser technique and had kept horses for about 35 years.

The prosecutor told the court the soles of Brambles' hooves had been trimmed away too thinly.

"The bone had rotated within the foot to an abnormal angle, so it protruded into the sole," he said, adding that there were abscesses present in the hoof and that a farrier had described it as the worst case of lameness he had ever seen.

Brambles was taken into the care of the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), but despite five months of intensive care, was put down after failing to respond.

Counsel for the defendant said the defendant "wanted to give the pony a chance using the Strasser technique because it was clear conventional treatment had not worked."

Mr Vass admitted a vet was not called to treat Brambles, but stressed that the pony was well-fed, well-housed and given the freedom to roam.

He added: "With the benefit of hindsight, (she) may have taken on slightly more than she could handle."

The prosecutor said: "We are not suggesting (she) was deliberately trying to hurt this pony, but her treatment was the incorrect treatment for the pony and caused her to suffer additional pain."

He said the Strasser method was the "inappropriate method of treatment", and had "resulted in mutilation and caused extreme pain".

The verdict will be given on 26 July.

Editor's note: Horse and Hound is the weekly newsmagazine of the horse world in Great Britain and often works together with Hoofcare & Lameness.

This is the second prosecution of a Strasser trimmer involved in a laminitis case to be tried in recent months. Previously, a trimmer was found guilty of cruelty and Dr. Strasser testified at the trial. In that case, charges directly related to the trimming were not found but the trimmer was found guilty for not seeking veterinary care for the horse.