To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to review its policy on the tethering of horses, donkeys, ponies and their hybrids; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) making guidance on tethering enforceable by Environmental Officers, (b) introducing a time-limit on tethering and (c) making it an offence to tether an animal in a location that poses a danger to the animal or the public.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) it is an offence to fail to provide for an animal’s welfare or to cause it any unnecessary suffering. The 2006 Act is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids (the Code). The Code provides owners and keepers with information on how to meet the welfare needs of their horses and includes a specific section on how to tether a horse. Local authorities have powers under the 2006 Act to investigate allegations of cruelty or poor welfare. In addition, welfare organisations such as the RPSCA and World Horse Welfare (WHW) may also investigate such matters. If anyone is concerned about the way a horse has been tethered they should report the matter either to the relevant local authority or to the RSPCA or WHW who can investigate.