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Following an outbreak of the contagious respiratory disease strangles in February, we’re delighted to announce that the final area of quarantine has been lifted from our largest farm in Norfolk.
At the height of the outbreak a total of 24 horses tested positive for strangles, many more required testing and nine quarantine zones were in operation resulting in an expenditure of over £4,000 a week on feed, test results and equipment to contain the disease.
As a precautionary measure, we also ceased rehoming operations and temporarily closed our Ada Cole visitor centre due to suspected contact with a strangles case – an action that had a notable impact on visitor donations, which we rely so heavily on.
Our teams have worked tirelessly to restrict the spread of the disease, but the outbreak has proved a very difficult and challenging time. As a result of restricted horse movements, paddocks could not be rotated and subsequently unable to recover from grazing, requiring a number of our hay stocks reserved for winter to be used prematurely.
The restriction of movements also applied to staff meaning maintenance work to repair fencing on certain sites was halted – costly improvements which are now desperately needed.
We have also invested in gallons of disinfectant; every time a quarantine zone was lifted miles of fencing and numerous water tanks, gates and field shelters required cleaning by hand. The total costs have yet to be calculated but it is clear its after-effects will be felt for some time to come.
“The strangles outbreak has been one of the biggest challenges we have faced in our 30-year history,” reflects Redwings Chief Executive Lynn Cutress. “I’d like to thank our supporters (new and longstanding) for their support and understanding during this extraordinary time.”
“I’d also like to thank our amazing staff who have worked so hard to contain the disease; their care for and dedication to the horses has been unceasing – I am so proud of each and every one of them.”
You can help us repair the damage left behind by the strangles crisis. A donation of £30 could help to reseed a field, repair fencing or help Redwings continue to care for all their 1,500 residents so if you can, please donate. To read more about strangles, click here.
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