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Redwings backs proposed bill to tackle fly-grazing

The Redwings Horse Sanctuary
The Redwings Horse Sanctuary

South Norfolk-based horse welfare charity Redwings has backed legislation that will help tackle the problem of fly-grazing.

The bill, promoted by Julian Sturdy MP, is backed by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) as well as other farming and animal welfare bodies.

Redwings said the Diss area has seen cases recently of horses being left on land to graze without consent

If successful, the Control of Horses Bill will extend powers for councils to remove fly-grazing horses from public land and for private landowners to deal with fly-grazing horses on private land.

According to the RSPCA, 441 calls regarding horse abandonment were received in Norfolk during 2013, including fly-grazing, that related to the welfare of 1,515 horses.

Nicola Markwell, head of external relations at Redwings Horse Sanctuary, said she was delighted at the progress of the new law.

“We’ve been working on this for a number of years now so it is fantastic news,” she said.

“Fly-grazing has a huge impact on horse welfare and human resources so fingers crossed this will make a huge difference. It is a big problem, not only across East Anglia, but the whole country, and there have been a number of cases in Diss recently.”

She blames financial issues on the growth of the problem.

“It is a result of economical downturn and the drop in the value of horses.

“First and foremost it is illegal and we want it to stop.

“Not only that it is irresponsible. These horses are not getting cared for and can easily escape and cause accidents on the road.”

CLA East Regional Director Ben Underwood said: “Horses can suffer significant harm if they are left to fend for themselves so it is vital that landowners have the power to act quickly and in the best interests of the welfare of these animals. We are delighted the Government supports our call for the powers in the Bill to be extended to private landowners and not just limited to local authorities.”

The bill must pass through the Houses of Commons and Lords before being made law.

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