New horse act welcomed

Published Thursday, 2nd April 2015
horse in field
horse in field

New laws to clamp down on people illegally abandoning horses have been welcomed by the Council.

The Control of Horses Act, which comes into force next month (May), will bring in changes that will help deter people from illegally grazing horses, known as 'fly-grazing', or simply abandoning horses on public and private land.

The changes, which become law on May 26, mean horse owners who 'fly-graze' their animals without permission can now be dealt with more quickly and effectively, within four working days, instead of fourteen days, as the 1971 law currently requires.

Under the previous Animals Act 1971 an abandoned horse could only be disposed of through sale at market or public auction.  The new law extends the options for dealing with abandoned horses, which now include private sale, gifting and re-homing.

Animal welfare groups estimate that there are over 3,000 horses illegally fly-grazing in this country. Fortunately there are few horses abandoned in Rotherham but Animal Health Officers welcome the new act because it improves horse welfare standards generally. 

Commenting on the new law, Animal Welfare Minister Lord de Mauley said: “The new law represents a huge step forward in getting owners to pay proper attention to their horses’ welfare, while also helping ensure local communities are not blighted by fly-grazing.

"We are grateful for the widespread support for the changes from across the equine sector and animal welfare groups, which has made this possible."