The RSPCA is scared of "gypsies" and are therefore not tackling their abuse of animals, an MP has said.

Tory Philip Davies said the charity and Bradford Council were "pussyfooting around" dealing with complaints about the "appalling" treatment of animals at the Esholt encampment.

The Shipley MP said animal welfare should not be "sacrificed on the altar of political correctness" and insisted any other owners would have faced action.

During the business statement, he said: "Can we have a debate on gypsies? Particularly in relation to animal welfare.

"Despite numerous complaints from me, local residents and other campaigners about the appalling treatment of animals, especially horses, at Esholt gypsy encampment in my constituency, Bradford Council and the RSPCA have refused to take any enforcement action.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if these animals were the responsibility of anyone else, enforcement action would have been taken.

"But authorities appear to pussyfoot around and run scared when it comes to gypsies.

"Can we have a debate on this issue so we can make clear in this House that animal welfare should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness when it comes to gypsies?"


Deputy Commons Leader Therese Coffey said laws in the Control of Horses Act 2015 could cover the abuse and told Mr Davies not to "single out" a particular group of people.

Ms Coffey replied: "I was under the impression that the legislation (the Act) which was successfully steered through the House in the last parliament by Julian Sturdy would have potentially dealt with this.

"it is concerning to hear councils are not prepared to implement that legislation but again I would suggest that frankly we don't need to single out any group of people in terms of regards to animal welfare.

"However, if there are specific issues I would encourage you to apply for the adjournment debate to debate this more carefully."