...my treasures do not sparkle they clink,
they shine in the sun and neigh in the night...



Molise, abused horses and a risk of pollution: IHP’s denunciation


“Unscrupulous breeders, cashing in on public funding with no care whatsoever for the animals”, explains the Association.

Horses torn to pieces by wolves, horses left to run wild all year round with no care or support even during the winter months, not to mention the danger to local people and a high risk of pollution due to excessive nitrate concentrations.

This is the situation that IHP is basing its formal complaint on, a situation ongoing for many years in Pantano Zittola - Feudo Valcocchiara, which is part of the Comune di Montenero Val Cocchiara (IS) in Molise.

In fact, many reports logged since 2016 create a very worrying picture:  some residents have made formal complaints about the management of many horses by breeders of the “Pentro” horses, which is a breed recognised and controlled by the Molise Regione.

“Stud farms are awarded public money on a yearly basis, in the form of “agricultural measures” for the promotion of the breed, to the tune of € 500.00 per head per annum”, IHP explains. “Furthermore, more funding is available in the form of contributions towards the construction or adaptation of shelters for the animals, for fencing, paddocks and water troughs, as well as pasture improvement, and the purchase of specialised machinery and infrastructure projects.  Lastly, public land is given over as pasture for some months of the year.  IHP has verified that the use of the pastures is highly questionable and produces environmental damage, pollution, and animal abuse. We have drawn this conclusion from various sources, and checked out documentation from the past five years from the Corpo Forestale dello Stato, ASREM, Regione Molise, WWF, and laboratories which carry out analysis of water and soil.”

IHP elaborates further: “At Montenero Val Cocchiara these animals are exposed to hunger, cold, and the risk of attack by predators; many dead animals have been found over time. Apart from simply ignoring the periods when the pastures should be closed off, some breeders illegally close off streets to prevent the horses coming up from Pantano actually getting into the town.  The Regione Molise has frequently had to ask the relevant authorities to take these barriers (some made with barbed wire) down, but with no success. This has all been documented with photographs, and video footage, in the course of some years. As far back as 2016, the Corpo Forestale dello Stato warned that much of the fencing was inadequate for the purpose of containing and protecting the animals, and that in some cases they lacked appropriate places for disposal of the muck. Conditions have remained thus for years, and have resulted in the animals being left outside all winter, and with many of them dying or being torn to pieces by wolves.”

IHP carried out an inspection on 19/20 December 2021 and was able to observe, to photograph and to film the horses in Pantano della Zittola, kept day and night in places in periods where this was not permitted, and even in the streets of the Comune di Val Cocchiara.

The IHP report concludes: “The following day we asked for the Carabinieri Forestali di Forli del Sannio to intervene, but their reaction was literally surreal, the Comandante accusing us of false declarations, because in his opinion the horses were permitted in all those areas (but without showing us any Regulations to support his claim), and he went as far as to warn us about making unverified claims.  We were joined by two ASREM vets, who limited themselves to listening to our formal complaints, without actually going to look at the animals themselves, just saying they would write a report.  To date, we have seen no intervention proposed or carried out, the horses have spent the winter there in unacceptable conditions, in the snow and ice, without forage, without shelter, without due care, and all this totally illegally.”