Horses: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the practice of horse tethering.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

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 RSPCA 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 existing legislation and guidance in place in respect of tethering horses ensures their welfare needs are met appropriately.

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