On 24th April 2024, seven horses ridden by British Household Cavalry soldiers were spooked by a loud noise in Belgravia, London, UK, and four threw off their riders and ran through the city. Two of the horses sustained serious injuries after colliding with vehicles, and they were operated on.

The horses of the Household Cavalry are forced to be ridden by the Army on the noisy streets of London to get them used to heavy traffic and loud noises, such as gun salutes and military bands. In this incident, one of the soldiers was thrown from his horse on Buckingham Palace Road before one of the escaping horses hit a taxi waiting outside the Clermont Hotel. A bus was also hit by the horses running, trying to escape the city in vain. Lt Col Matt Woodward, commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, said the horses bolted after “building materials were dropped from height right next to them”.

The next day, the British Army tweeted: “An update following the incident yesterday, where some of our horses were spooked in central London. All three soldiers involved are expected to recover fully and to return to duty. Of the seven horses which were spooked, five tried to bolt and four – Vida, Trojan, Quaker and Tennyson – broke loose. Two of the injured horses were operated on last night, with one transferred to an equine hospital. All remaining horses are being closely observed. Our horses receive the highest standards of care, and those that did not undergo surgery are expected to return to duty in due course. We want to thank everyone who has shown such kindness and concern towards our soldiers and horses. We will provide more updates soon.”

There have now been calls to free the escaping horses from their servitude in the army and give them a proper life at a vegan sanctuary where they will no longer be ridden. The animal rights group Animal Rising twitted the following: “‼️URGENT: SIGN PETITION TO SEND THE ESCAPED MILITARY HORSES TO A SANCTUARY‼️ We all are shocked by the images of the blood-covered horses, that were running through London today morning. This horrifying image is a clear display of how we treat animals in today’s society. Animals in distress have been escaping from slaughterhouses, farms and this time from a military rehearsal. We have to do better. These horses have served their country through no choice of their own. Now, it is time for us to serve them. ‼️We are urgently calling for those horses to be sent to a sanctuary where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace‼️”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.