RSPCA Highlights Concern For Tethered Horses
A recent statement by the RSPCA has highlighted concern for the welfare of tethered horses, in the UK.
The statement comes as the issue was discussed in the House of Commons on the 20th February. Additionally, the RSPCA received over 5000 complaints about tethered horses in 2018, hoping the political discussion will lead to actions which will “safeguard hundreds of horses in the future”.
The charity has seen numerous cases were tethering has been detrimental to horse health. Reports of wounds, horses becoming tangled and distress are commonly seen in relation to tethering practice.
However, current law states that tethering an animal is not illegal in itself, therefore, welfare officers are unable to take action even though the practice poses a high threat to potential injury or discomfort. Animal welfare officers often arrive at tethering sights and are “powerless” unless there is evidence of the animal suffering.
Dr Mark Kennedy, an equine welfare expert at the RSPCA, explained;
For the welfare needs of a tethered horse to be met, they would have to be very carefully and regularly monitored, safely tethered with properly designed and fitted equipment. As well as given appropriate shelter, food and water, along with regular and lengthy periods of free-roaming without the tether. Sadly, this rarely happens.”
“Tethered horses are not only at risk of becoming injured themselves, but they also pose a serious risk to the public, especially when they're left close to busy roads and roundabouts where if they were to become loose, they could cause road accidents.”
The RSPCA want to provoke action from the government to enforce stricter rules surrounding tethering practices. The charity suggests the enforcement of a maximum time period for tethering would be suitable to guard horse welfare. The RSPCA do not believe a complete ban on tethering practice is appropriate, as this may lead to an increase in neglect, abandonment, and fly-grazing.
Whilst discussion surrounding tethering is continued within the UK government, the RSPCA are still providing on-going support and education to discourage owners utilising the practice and pot for more suitable and welfare friendly management methods.
[avatar user="AbbyDickinson" size="medium" align="center" link="file"]Everything Horse News Reporter, Abby Dickinson[/avatar]