Government Action Plan to support improvement to animal welfare
Along with many animal welfare organisations and charities, World Horse Welfare welcomes the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare published this week and, urges Government to use this once in a generation opportunity to bring in changes that truly protect horse welfare.
Roly Owers, Chief Executive said: “We commend Government for putting animal welfare firmly on its agenda for the new Parliamentary session. Horses often fall through the welfare legislative cracks between the categories of companion animals and livestock but, now we have an opportunity to make changes in a number of areas concurrently that can support real improvements to the welfare of all equines.” World Horse Welfare is delighted that it will now be enshrined in UK law that animals are sentient beings and also welcomes the introduction of new tools allowing fines to be given for animal cruelty, although it stresses that these penalty notices will need to be simple to use to be truly effective. Several significant parts of the Action Plan relate to issues World Horse Welfare has long campaigned around, including a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter, improved welfare at slaughter and the licensing of animal welfare establishments. To be truly effective, however, many of these laws will require linking a horse to an owner, so a fully digitised, frictionless and enforced equine ID system will be essential. For instance, to prevent horses circumventing the ban on export to slaughter by being moved under the guise of other reasons, each needs to be uniquely and easily identifiable and traceable.
World Horse Welfare also welcomes the new powers for police to respond to cases of animal worrying, but would like to see it extended to all equines and more widely than just on agricultural land, to help tackle the problem of ridden horses and those at grass being attacked by dogs.