House of Commons Library

Control of Horses Bill 2014-15

Published Tuesday, January 13, 2015

There are proposals to update fly-grazing legislation. This note covers the private Members' bill put forward by Julian Sturdy MP.

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Fly-grazing is the practice of deliberately allowing horses to graze on land without the consent of the landowner. It has received a great deal of media interest in recent years, primarily because the current law is widely perceived as being inadequate.

Julian Sturdy MP has proposed a bill to tackle this in England, the Control of Horses Bill. This Standard Note explains the measures contained within the Bill, and explains whether and how these differ from current legislation.

The Bill would make it easier for local authorities, freeholders and occupiers to tackle fly-grazing, by changing the law in relation to horses grazing without permission on public and private land. Landowners and occupiers will be able to detain horses for a minimum period of 96 hours (4 days), rather than 14 days under current legislation.

At the end of the 4 days, the horses could be disposed of in whatever way is deemed fit. This includes destroying them. Current legislation does not allow them to be destroyed.

The Bill has been welcomed by interested parties, including animal welfare charities.

Commons Briefing papers SN07047

Authors: Elena Ares; Jim Camp

Topics: Animal welfare, Animals, Anti-social behaviour, Farmers, Local government

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