The Army has been accused of killing military horses that could have lived longer lives.
More than 300 war horses have been put to sleep by the Ministry of Defence in the last 20 years, it can be revealed.
Up to one in 10 of them were physically healthy, but had developed “dangerous temperaments”, according to government documents.
The remainder were destroyed by vets for a wide variety of medical conditions, including colic and lameness.
In one year, military horses were euthanised by Army vets at the rate of one every two weeks.
Elisa Allen, of animal welfare charity PETA UK, said: “Horses aren’t disposable military kit or soldiers who enlist. The days of war horses should be over.
While painless euthanasia is the only humane option for sick or wounded animals who can’t be treated, the use of horses in the Armed Forces should be put out to pasture.”
Military horses cost more than £1million a year to maintain. When ill, officials have to decide whether they can recover and be rehomed or if the only option is to put it down.
Horses recently destroyed include Warrior, who was recorded as suffering from lameness and old age.
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Two years ago the Life Guards Drum Horse Adamas was destroyed. He took part in ceremonial events including the Queen’s Birthday. At the time the Army said he had an infection in his foot joint “which required repeated intensive treatment. No expense was spared”.
The Army has about 500 horses, most in the King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery and Household Cavalry. They are vital in ceremonies.
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Last month we told how 1,500 Army dogs have been regarded as unfit to serve and put down since 2000.
An MoD spokesman said: “We make every effort to ensure animals in the military are found a new home when they retire. Sadly, there are occasions where this is not possible. An animal will only be put to sleep as a last resort.”
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