Defra is keen to ensure that we uphold our high standards of welfare including in relation to fly-grazed horses.
The Control of Horses Act 2015 introduced more flexible options for the management of fly-grazing and other abandoned horses and has been welcomed by landowners, local authorities, countryside bodies and animal welfare charities. The 2015 Act allows landowners, occupiers and local authorities to secure and if necessary remove horses unlawfully left on their land and take them immediately to a place of safety. The person detaining the horse must notify the local police within 24 hours of doing so, and if the horse’s owner can be identified, they must also be notified.
The 2015 Act provides flexibility, meaning that local authorities can use it in a way that meets their specific needs. We encourage all interested parties to work together at local level to use the available powers to address the challenge of abandoned horses.