To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a ban on tethering animals in unsafe locations including (a) roundabouts (b) roadsides and (c) other public land.
Defra is keen to ensure that we uphold our high standards of animal welfare including in relation to tethering. 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 animals and includes a specific section on how to tether a horse and other animals are covered. The code makes it clear that the site should not allow animals’ access to a public highway or public footpaths. If anyone is concerned about the way a horse or other animal has been tethered they should report the matter either to the relevant local authority or to the RSPCA or World Horse Welfare who can investigate. If a horse or other animal is found not to be tethered appropriately it could lead to a prosecution under the 2006 Act. Defra considers that this legislation and guidance provides the right safeguards in respect of tethering.