The Persecution of Ben Street

Recently, barefoot trimmer Ben Street was convicted under the British Animal Welfare Act for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse.

According to the prosecution, Street had over-rasped and bevelled the hoofs causing pain.
The prosecution was brought by the FRC (the Farriers’ Registration Council) and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Both these organisations are well financed and both had a personal interest in pursuing this prosecution: the FRC would obviously like to see the obliteration of all things barefoot since they feel it is a major challenge to their status and their traditions; the RSPCA is no longer particularly active in true animal welfare charity but has degenerated into an organisation that is trying to maintain a high profile and thereby maintain a sizeable income from donations.

Apparently the prosecution pivots around a lack of record-keeping and photographic evidence – but most notable is 1) the original complaint was by a farrier and it was investigated by an RSPCA officer who himself is a farrier, and 2) the judge decided to ignore the advice of both an equine veterinary surgeon and an equine podiatrist.

Although Street did overstep the mark and technically broke the law by applying glue-on boots (a legal prerogative of the farrier), the shoddy evidence should never have led to this sort of prosecution. And I would defy almost any farrier to provide records of their work similar to those that were requested of Street.

More information can be found on the Fighting for the Barefoot Horse website