This horse trade must be stopped

First published in Our View by

The issue of horses tethered on common land in Bradford is a growing one that causes multiple problems.

The presence of the animals grazing on patches of grass is unsightly in the extreme, and not really one that should welcome visitors to the city. There is also the matter of hazards – the Telegraph & Argus has reported previously on children injured by horses, and some of the animals are tethered close to busy main roads. And, of course, there is the problem of animal welfare – horses should be properly stabled with space to roam freely in secure fields.

So the call from the RSPCA for more rigid enforcement, including the microchipping of horses so that owners can be traced, is to be welcomed as a strong step forward to resolving these many issues.

What is especially worrying is the revelation that horses are changing hands in Bradford for as little as £5. Anyone who pays such a trifling amount for a large animal that needs high levels of care, attention and maintenance cannot possibly have the best interests of the horse – or other people – at heart.

This is an unpleasant trade that must be stamped out, and only more stringent legislation which gives local authorities and the police more powers to take action will suffice.

It seems astonishing that there is no adequate existing law that can be brought to bear on those who allow “fly grazing” – simply tying a horse up on the smallest available patch of land and leaving it there.

The sooner this is addressed and the authorities are given the green light to properly tackle the problem as and when it arises, the better it will be for both people and horses in Bradford.

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