To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) restricting the legal amount of time a horse can be tethered to 24 hours and (b) banning the tethering of horses on public land that may pose a risk to both that 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. If a horse is found not to be tethered appropriately, this could lead to a prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. I consider that the existing legislation and guidance in place in respect of tethering horses ensures their welfare needs are met appropriately.