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Monday, October 27, 2014

British Non-Farrier Found Guilty of Over-Trimming, Gluing Hoof Boots; Charged as Animal Welfare Act Violations

The following information is being printed verbatim, except where noted in italics and where spelling has been Americanized. This is a document created by the Farriers Registration Council in the United Kingdom. Hoofcare Publishing requested a copy of this document today and was kindly sent this for publication.

On 2 October 2014, Mr Ben Street of Hixon, Stafford (England) was found guilty at Stafford Magistrates’ Court of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse, and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure good practice in protecting a horse from pain, suffering, and/or disease by gluing and sealing hoof boots.

On 21 October 2014 Mr Street was sentenced to 200 hours community service within a 12 month period and contribution to court costs of £5000 (editor's note: approximately US$8,068).

Mr Street is neither a Registered Farrier nor an Approved Apprentice Farrier as defined in the Farriers (Registration) Act (of Great Britain). The charges against Mr Street were:
1. That between the 23rd February and 22nd March 2013 he caused unnecessary suffering to a chestnut thoroughbred type horse (known as Thomas) when he knew and ought to have reasonably to have known that in performing an act of farriery on the said animal namely over- rasping and over-bevelling the hoof walls of the front feet and/or excessively trimming the heels, would have that effect or be likely to do so contrary to Section 4, sub-Section 1 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

2. That on or about the 22nd March 2013 he did not take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of Thomas were met to the extent required by good practice in that he did not protect Thomas from pain, suffering and/or disease as a consequence of gluing and sealing hoof boots to Thomas pursuant to Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Mr Street was represented by Counsel; the judge hearing the case, District Judge McGiven, noted that the two charges were based on different acts; the first being based on trimming and the second on the fitting of glue-on boots and the practices adopted in carrying out that act.

Farriery is a regulated profession and Farriers must be registered by law under the Farriers Registration Act. Under the Act only Registered Farriers, Approved Apprentice Farriers, Veterinary Surgeons or Trainees, or persons giving first aid in an emergency situation, may practice farriery. For others to do so is a criminal offense which can result in a fine of up to £1,000, plus legal costs and a criminal record.

The Farriers Registration Council (FRC) is empowered under the Farriers Registration Act carry out investigations and, where the there is sufficient evidence, to initiate prosecutions against unregistered persons.

Under the Animal Welfare Act a horse owner has a duty of care to provide for the needs of their horse or pony; in the event that an owner employs an unqualified person to attend to their horses feet and something goes wrong causing the horse to suffer, the owner may be considered to have committed an offense, and could be subject to investigation and possible prosecution.

Registered Farriers will normally have professional indemnity insurance but those working illegally almost certainly will not, and therefore it would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve redress for poor workmanship and for injury and damage of any kind. Accordingly, we recommend that horse owners employ only Registered Farriers to attend to their horse’s feet, by doing so they will enjoy protections afforded under the Farriers Registration Act and the regulatory body, the FRC that enforces it.

Farriers in Great Britain must undertake an Approved Apprenticeship lasting a minimum of 3.5 years to allow for the range of skills that need to be acquired and mastered. Approved Apprentices must pass an approved examination, the Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (DipWCF), which is recognized worldwide as the gold standard in farriery qualifications. Thereafter Apprentices are registered with the Farriers Registration Council and, in effect, licensed to practice farriery.

Members of the public may easily check if a farrier is registered; each farrier is issued with an annual Registration Card which should be produced on request, alternatively members of the public may check the FRC’s website ( and click on ‘find a farrier’, or telephone the FRC office on 01733 319911. Approved Apprentice Farriers are also issued with an annual registration card.

If a horse owner, or any member of public, has any information regarding alleged illegal farriery activity including the possible use of an illegal assistant they are asked to report it to the FRC. Animal welfare concerns should be reported to a Veterinary Surgeon, the RSPCA or SSPCA or another animal welfare organization without delay.

(end of document)

Additional information added by Hoofcare Publishing:

Animal Welfare Act of 2006 (Great Britain), Section 4: Unnecessary suffering

  1. A person commits an offence if—

  1. an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer,
  2. he knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act, or failure to act, would have that effect or be likely to do so,
  3. the animal is a protected animal, and d. the suffering is unnecessary.

Top photo by Safalko.

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