The Control of Horses Bill, which aims to combat the animal welfare crisis of fly-grazing, today passed its Committee Stage in 40 minutes. We hope that the Bill, which is the Private Members’ Bill tabled by Julian Sturdy MP, will become law before the end of this Parliament. The Countryside Alliance has been working in coalition with a range of animal welfare and farmer/ landowner organisations to highlight the fly-grazing crisis, including World Horse Welfare. The Committee praised the work of the coalition and acknowledged the scale of the problem both in terms of the number of horses thought to be fly-grazed and the fact that it affects both urban and rural areas. All amendments and clauses extending the scope of the Bill to private land were accepted and it was made clear that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 will apply to the animals dealt with under this legislation. The Minister said that Defra would be ‘happy to contribute’ to any guidance produced on using the Bill and we look forward to the opportunity of working together on this.
We hope the Bill will be given an early date for Report and Third Reading, after which the Bill will go to the Lords where we hope peers will give it a swift passage so the Bill will be on the Statute Book before the end of this Parliament.
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