Defra is keen to ensure that we uphold our high standards of 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. Local authorities and the police have powers under the 2006 Act to seize any animal that is suffering unnecessarily and investigate allegations of cruelty or poor welfare.
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 horses and other animals covered. 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.
Whilst the Government does not hold records on the number or sites of tethered animals, we have provided local authorities and the police with powers to deal with instances of poorly tethered horses.