We and five other leading horse charities are welcoming plans by the Welsh Government to introduce legislation to tackle fly grazing of horses and ponies in Wales. We’re urgently asking the Westminster Government to follow suit in England to help stem the horse crisis escalating across the country.
As 7,000 horses are at risk of needing rescue in England and Wales, Redwings, World Horse Welfare, The British Horse Society, Blue Cross, HorseWorld and us have released a series of devastating case studies. They illustrate how current laws permit horses to suffer needlessly including:
- Horses allowed to stray on railway lines in Bristol, possibly in an attempt by their owner to get rid of their injured animals
- A foal left to drown in a river in Essex
- A mare abandoned on an industrial estate near Newcastle
- A stretch of land in Kent with more than 100 horses running feral – one mare with a broken pelvis lay for days with her dead foal when left to give birth alone
- Six horses left to starve in Blackpool
Thousands of horses are at risk of suffering
The plans by the Welsh government were announced last week (17 July). However the Westminster government has no such plans in England. This at a time when thousands of horses are at risk and landowners and local authorities struggle to cope with the problem.
Alun Davies AM, minister for natural resources and food, will announce plans including new legislative solutions in Wales to tackle the problem, caused by difficulties in identifying horse owners and irresponsible ownership, in the early autumn.
The announcement comes at a time when equine problems in the UK are at crisis point. The situation was highlighted recently with the case of horse trader Tom Price who was found guilty of 57 animal welfare and cruelty charges and is thought to own 2,500 horses across Wales and England.
All horse welfare charities are working at capacity
RSPCA head of public affairs, David Bowles, said:
“We welcome the Welsh government’s plans to tackle this long-standing problem and hope the legislation will be strong and effective if the current situation is to be reversed.
“We were also disappointed when the Westminster Government decided to shut down the National Equine Database and urge the government to reinstate a robust and thorough system of linking horses to owners.
“This problem does not just affect Wales – we need action and a solution across England as well as Wales.”
Chairman of the National Equine Welfare Council and Head of Welfare at Redwings Nic De Brauwere said:
“The six major horse welfare charities recently released a report backed by the National Equine Welfare Council showing that charities are all working at capacity, with many thousands of abused or abandoned horses in our care and we are working with hundreds more that need our help but we have nowhere for them to go.”
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers said:
“What we need is better legislation and enforcement to hold irresponsible owners to account and more support for local authorities to deal with the numbers of horses left to breed, graze, suffer and often die on other people’s land. If Wales takes action and the rest of the UK does not, the problem will simply move over the border. We need a joined-up approach.”
Can you rehome a horse?
While we all struggle with the unprecedented numbers of horses and ponies needing help we are urging members of the public who can offer a good home to a horse from a charity to give them a second chance at life and make space for others who need help.
We are also asking people concerned about the issue of fly grazing and abandoned horses to contact their MPs asking them to reinstate a National Equine Database and follow the Welsh Government’s lead in exploring all legislative options.
Why not read our joint charities’ report ‘Left on the verge – in the grip of a horse crisis’.
We can’t do it without you
We can only rescue and help rehabilitate animals like this with your help. Please donate online or text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).