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Horses: Animal Welfare

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 174090, tabled on 23 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the practice of horse tethering.

Answered on

13 April 2021

This country leads the way in animal welfare, including setting standards for horse welfare. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, all owners and keepers of horses must provide for the welfare needs of their animals. I consider that current legislation and guidance provides the right safeguards and powers in respect of horse tethering. However, we will continue to engage with key stakeholders to see if more can be done to spread best practice among horse owners as well as increased partnership working in order to tackle the issue of inappropriate horse tethering.

Tethering can be a useful equine temporary management tool when it is used appropriately. The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids provides owners and keepers with general welfare information, including a specific section on the tethering of a horse. Whilst it is not an offence to breach the Code, if proceedings are brought against someone for a welfare offence under the 2006 Act, (including failing to tether a horse appropriately and ensuring that it’s welfare needs are met) it could be used as evidence in support of those proceedings.

The equine welfare sector promotes good welfare practice through their respective websites and via social media for example the National Equine Welfare Council’s compendium:

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