The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers, and rural businesses, has said that it is “pleased and encouraged” MP Julian Sturdy’s Private Members Bill on horse fly-grazing has passed its second reading in Parliament today (Friday 24 October).

The Control of Horses Bill would give more powers to both local authorities and landowners that would enable them to deal with fly-grazing horses in a timely, humane and cost-effective fashion – also taking the strain off animal welfare organisations.

CLA President Henry Robinson said:

“We’re pleased and encouraged that MPs have rightly backed Julian Sturdy’s Private Members Bill. CLA policy and evidence have been instrumental in moving it on to the Committee Stage, which is another step towards ensuring the law in England adequately protects both landowners and the welfare of the animals.

“Wales has already taken steps to provide such powers in the form of the Control of Horses (Wales) Act 2014, which allows local authorities to take swift and decisive action. The CLA would like to see similar powers in England, together with more effective legislation to enable landowners in both England and Wales to deal with the problem in a quicker and more cost effective manner.

“The CLA has been calling on the Government to ensure Local Authorities and landowners in both nations would have the power they need to tackle fly-grazing – without a collective approach the problem will simply migrate from one country or area to the next.”

Unlawful fly-grazing, which is the practice of leaving horses on land without the owner’s permission, has increased significantly in recent years.

The CLA launched a report called  ‘Stop the scourge - time to address unlawful fly-grazing in England ’ in conjunction with six major animal welfare charities and other rural organisations in September. It revealed that more than 3,000 horses are being fly-grazed in England, causing misery for horses, landowners, animal welfare organisations, and Local Authorities.

Mr Robinson subsequently met with Defra’s Lord de Mauley on the issue and gave oral evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry into the causes and impacts of fly-grazing on 3 September.