It’s been a year since the Control of Horses Act came into force, and the latest figures show a reduction in the numbers of horses fly-grazed across England and Wales.
There are now approximately 3,000 – 3,500* horses currently fly-grazed across England and Wales, the same number as were estimated to be fly-grazed in England alone in 2014. This shows that the Act which gives greater power to public and private landowners to remove horses being grazed on their land without permission is working.
“We campaigned for almost three years for tougher legislation to tackle fly-grazing which blights local communities and puts thousands of horses’ lives at risk every year so it is encouraging to see positive results,” said World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers.
However, the coalition of welfare and rural organisations which campaigned for the Act (including Blue Cross, British Horse Society, CLA, Countryside Alliance, HorseWorld, NFU, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, RSPCA and World Horse Welfare) want to ensure the Act is used to its full potential.
“We do believe, however, that there is still more work to be done. Awareness of the Act, and the willingness of more local authorities and other landowners to use it are key to its success in tackling fly-grazing, which is just one driver of the UK’s current horse crisis,” said Roly Owers.
The legal consequence of this Act means that horses can now be removed immediately rather than waiting two weeks. Also after just four days ownership is assumed by the landowner.
* Figures collected by RSPCA Inspectors and World Horse Welfare Field Officers over the month of January 2016