A vet who examined more than one hundred horses seized from a farm, has told a court he believed only eight were at risk.

The animals were taken from Spindle Farm, Chalk Lane, Hyde Heath, following a search of the premises by RSPCA inspectors and police.

Mr James Gray, the farm's owner is making an application to the court for the animals to be returned to him.

Vet John Parker examined the animals 11 days after they were seized.

Today he told Oxford Magistrates court he didn't believe the horses, donkeys and ponies had been "caused unnecessary suffering."

Mr Parker also told the court it was possible the animals had arrived at the farm already in a poor condition, adding he believed a "significant level were derived from a semi feral origin."

He said: " The public concept is that most horses live in a stables up to their noses in straw, but that is very far from the case.

There are horses from the Welsh hills which are semi-feral just as cattle and sheep in those areas are."

Thirty two animals were found dead during the search of the farm on January 9, but Mr Parker said that did not indicate signs of animal cruelty.

He said: " It is difficult to see why the presence of corpses should imply cruelty. It's not in a farmers interest to be cruel to his purchases."

Mr Gray, 44, told Mr Parker the corpses were kept separate from the other horses ready ready to be sold for slaughter.

Mr Parker told the court he visited Spindle farm at a later date and found the bedding and general condition of the farm to be of " Extremely good quality."

Asked if he believed the animals would be at risk of cruelty if they were returned, Mr Parker simply said "no."

The hearing will continue this afternoon.