This is a slightly different post for me, however, it is a topic that has come up time and time again in my 'Emerging Issues, Ethics and Welfare' module at University and so I decided to do a blog post about it.
It is estimated that the number of horses at risk of neglect or abandonment in the UK has risen to 7, 000 with half of these being from fly grazing. Fly grazing is the deliberate grazing of horses on land without the land owners permission, therefore grazing the horse illegally. Wales has recently passed a new law which prohibits fly-grazing, and whilst this is good news in many respects as it reduces the number of horses abandoned as they are either returned to owners, taken in to charities if possible or put to sleep, it could lead to the problem escalating in England as many people may just move the horses across the border. This means that England should now follow Wales' lead and also propose a new law to ban fly-grazing. Although it may mean that many horses are put down, it will hopefully help to tackle the large scale of neglect and abandonment we are currently seeing and charities are already full, finding it difficult to be able to take in more horses which desperately need their help.
I also think that more should be done to ensure that when people buy horses, that they are competent enough and have the funds to be able to afford to look after them long term as well as having the knowlege to care for them. After all, buying them is the easy and cheaper part! It's the livery bills, vet, tack, feed, insurance and various other things which all add up! I think it is seen that having a horse, in some respects to some people, makes them look better and gives them a higher reputation, although they may not have much of an idea on how to look after them. Similarly, some parents may relent and buy their child a pony but again do not have an idea how to look after them. Therefore, I feel that people should maybe undergo a small exam or lessons or something in order to be able to purchase a horse to ensure that the horse will be cared for properly and not end up being another statistic in charity cases.
Another issue which needs addressing is the issue of over-breeding (this is actually the topic I am basing my assignment on!) as many people are deciding to breed from their mares if they can no longer be ridden, or decide that they want a foal or various other reasons. This has also contributed to the number of horses being abandoned as people do not realise the time and cost that has to be put in until it is too late and they can no longer care for them. I think that people should have a license to be able to have stallions and use them for breeding and that more people need to be educated on what breeding involves as well as how to care for the foal through its life.
I hope you find this interesting and I'd love to hear your opinion!
Thanks for reading,
Laura & Pea x