Helping local authorities tackle fly-grazing

On Thursday 15th February, Redwings’ Head of Welfare and Behaviour Nic de Brauwere, Welfare Veterinary Surgeon Roxane Kirton and Equine Behaviour Manager Sarah Hallsworth – together with colleagues from the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare – spent the day training local councils to equip them with the skills to deal with horse welfare issues in their areas.

Sixteen staff from eight councils, both urban and rural, attended the training day with the aim to increase confidence in using the Control of Horses Act (2015) when tackling the problem of fly-grazing – that is, where irresponsible owners graze their horses on other people’s land without permission; a practice that often leads to welfare problems, such as them escaping onto busy roads or neglected routine care.

After an introduction to the Control of Horses Act by senior parliamentary advisor for the RSPCA Rachel Williams, the training continued with a talk about multi-agency working from Steven Gale, Animal Health and Welfare Officer for Stockton on Tees Borough Council.

Andy Shaw from GRC Bailiffs gave an insight into the role of bailiffs when it comes to equine issues, and Claire Gordon, Chief Field Officer from World Horse Welfare, spoke about the ways in which animal welfare charities can assist when problems with fly-grazed horses arise, and also their limitations.

The day rounded off with a discussion on the welfare problems posed to fly-grazing horses, led by our Head of Welfare and Behaviour Nic de Brauwere. This was followed by a practical horse handling session led by Redwings equine behaviour manager Sarah Hallsworth and Redwings veterinary surgeon Roxane Kirton.

It is hoped more workshops will run in future. Interested councils can contact politicalaffairs@rspca.org.uk to register an interest.

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