My hon. Friend is right about damage to the environment, and I urge colleagues to look at some of the photos of horses that have been treated so badly. I mentioned the pony in south Bristol that was tied to a tree, and the surrounding area was a small stretch of grass between a pavement and the road. Yes, there was huge damage to the local environment, but there was damage to the pony, too.
The code of practice informs us that tethering is not a suitable long-term method of managing horses, as does the RSPCA, the British Horse Society, World Horse Welfare and Redwings, but absolutely nothing can be done legally to prevent someone from tethering a horse for its whole life.
Further, long-term tethering directly infringes the five freedoms set out by the Animal Welfare Act 2006: the need for a suitable environment; the need for a suitable diet; the need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns; the need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals; and the need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
A tethered horse is not free to express natural behaviours. A horse that is free to roam will, on average, walk or run 10.6 miles a day, and the reality is that a tethered horse can come nowhere near that. As my many colleagues who keep horses can attest to, horses are flight animals. A horse’s most basic instinct is to flee from danger, which tethering does not allow. Tethering restricts a horse’s most natural behaviour.