With the Cheltenham Gold Cup taking place next week, I would like you to spare a thought for horses that do not lead such a life of prestige and comfort as those thoroughbreds.
Many horses are abandoned to fly-graze by their owners who either cannot, or will not, pay for food and livery. There are also horses whose owners will fly-graze on others’ land without permission because they think they can get away with it. The Government estimates that as many as 3,000 horses are illegally fly-grazing.
This can be damaging to the welfare of the horse, even fatal in some cases, and very costly for the landowner, whose land, crops and fencing may be damaged as a result.
The Control of Horses Act 2015
The Control of Horses Act 2015 was brought in to make it easier and quicker to deal with fly-grazing. Under legislation prior to this Act (Animals Act 1971), an abandoned horse could only be disposed of after 14 days through sale at market or public auction.
Under the new Act:
- Fly-grazing horses must be reported to the Police within 24 hours
- Owners have four days to reclaim their animal
- In addition to sale at market or auction, horses can now be sold privately or re-homed, whether privately or gifted to a charity or sanctuary
You can read the full legislation online.
This provides for much improved welfare for the horse and enables landowners to take quick action that will save time and money. Hopefully, it is also making fly-grazing a far less attractive option for owners.
For more information
If you are a landowner and are concerned about trespassers and horses on your land, we can help remove both safely and promptly, as well as advising on prevention of further incidents. Call us on 0333 001 5100 if you would like further information.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance