Intro From Our Founder

My name is Sue Burton. I formed the Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary over 30 years ago with a friend, Patricia Bacon.

  1. The main reasons for forming the Sanctuary from my point of view were twofold I cared passionately about animals and the way they suffered at the hands of humans.
  2. I have always had a great belief in wrong and right and total respect for all living creatures – be they animals or humans. I could not believe that in this country we could stand by and watch an animal suffer and die needlessly and that we would not all move mountains to ensure it never happened again.

The Sanctuary was formed and slowly it began to increase in size as we helped more and more suffering animals. Two major events have happened in my life that have greatly changed the way I feel.

Firstly, a few years into forming the Sanctuary we dealt with Willow – a beautiful part Shire horse that was rescued from a traveller’s site in Rush Green. She was 8 months in foal and had serious injuries as well as being emaciated. She died under the most awful conditions and, despite the fact that she stood with her intestines hanging out of her, and as she moved she trod in it and pulled more out of herself, a vet working across the way stood looking at her and refused to help. Pat and I sat with this mare as she died in absolute agony with vets from all over the county rushing to help. Sadly no one arrived in time and, as I have said, the vet that was on the spot refused to help. What we saw that poor creature go through cannot be imagined and I will always see her face and hear her roaring in agony. This incident however taught me just how much an animal can suffer and how my job is to ensure that I do all in my power to ensure no animal in my care will ever be allowed to suffer.

Then more recently the Sanctuary got caught up in the terrible massacre that was Foot and Mouth. Being so close to Cheales slaughter yard, where the disease was confirmed, we were immediately within two separate infected areas. We were terrified at the prospect of losing our animals. I was in direct contact with people who had pet animals that were in danger. It was the most harrowing two years of my life. I was in touch with Carolyn Hoffe who had her five sheep in her house and Kirstin McBride and so many others who had their totally healthy animals dragged from them and killed in front of them. There was nothing worse during those days to be hearing from these different people in different parts of the country and hearing how their totally healthy pet animals were being treated and killed and hearing the cries of these people and the anguish they went through.

There is no question that FMD has changed me. I could not believe that over 11 million animals were killed in such inhumane conditions and so many people were treated so appallingly by the Army, the Police, vets, Defra etc and yet the majority of their fellow countrymen turned a blind eye to their suffering. I witnessed scenes that appalled me and have seen and heard the tragic stories of the way this country has treated its fellow citizens and it has left me a great distrust of those people in power.

Since FMD, life for people with large animals has changed and is going to keep changing with more and more restrictions placed on animal owners. I am deeply suspicious of what goes on and instead of taking at face value what I read in the papers or see in the news, I now go direct to the people at the sharp end to find the truth and what is really happening.

These events in particular have moulded me into the person I am now and have given me the determination to want to continue to fight what is happening in this country regarding our animals and our rights.

Life here at the Sanctuary is hard. It is a constant fight to raise funds, to keep on top of the ever-mounting paperwork and legal requirements, and red tape, and to strive to keep on top of the ever-increasing workload.

Days here are often full of worry and concerns but to stand in the stable blocks at night and listen to them all contentedly munching their hay, knowing that they are all safe and warm in their stables makes the whole thing worthwhile. The population of animals here at the Sanctuary is very much an older population with two-thirds of the horses being over 25 and a third of them being over 35. So we tend to work very much along the lines of a hospice – giving the animals all the care that they need and keeping them free of pain so that they are able to enjoy their last years of life getting something back from the human race that was so happy to take so much for them in their earlier fit years.

My vision for the future is a Sanctuary that continues along the same lines as Remus does, operating purely for the welfare of the animals, with no ulterior motive, just a desire to improve the lot of our animal friends.

Needless to say over the many years we have been in operation – many many people have helped out with the Sanctuary, and have come and gone as the course of life has dictated, and whilst I run the Sanctuary I could not do it without the help of so many people – trustees, staff, volunteers, our wonderful band of members, a superb group of fundraisers, friends etc and my heartfelt thanks goes to all of them. Remus is very much a team effort, none of us can do the job without the other and hopefully all our efforts culminate to provide an environment of peace and safety for all those animals who come through our Sanctuary gates.

Thank you for your interest in our Sanctuary, our animals and the work that we do.

If you would like to make a donation, please do so here.

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