Control of Horses (Wales) bill aims to establish a fly-grazing free Wales

Monday 14 October 2013

RSPCA Cymru has welcomed the Welsh Government’s publication of draft legislation aimed at tackling fly-grazing and abandonment of horses and ponies across the country.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies AM, today announced his intention to fast-track the Control of Horses (Wales) Bill through the National Assembly for Wales’ legislative process.

The Bill will give local authorities the power to seize, impound and make arrangements for horses found fly-grazing or abandoned on public or private land without permission. Furthermore, owners will be given only seven days to come forward and will also be liable for costs incurred by the local authority during this period.

RSPCA National Director for Wales, Steve Carter said: “While not a panacea, we believe this is a positive step toward tackling the equine crisis in Wales and fully support the Minister’s decision to legislate.

“In response to the Welsh Government’s consultation on equines, RSPCA Cymru emphasised the need for better legislation, traceability, education, enforcement, resources for local authorities and sharing best practice. We remain committed to these aims and the resurrection of the national equine database and mandatory microchipping for all horses.

“We hope the legislation will provide local authorities with a consistent and effective way of dealing with incidents of fly-grazing and abandonment but will also allow for a multi-agency approach to the problem. Successful convictions, like that of horse trader Tom Price, are dependent on coordination between all agencies and this approach remains essential to improving enforcement and welfare.

“Any delay to this Bill could leave animals to suffer throughout the coming winter. We look forward to working with the Welsh Government and Assembly Members as this Bill progresses through the Assembly”.