An attempt to amend the Animals Act (1971) in order to combat rising equestrian insurance premiums has cleared its first hurdle in Parliament.

The Bill received its first reading in the Commons last Wednesday (27 June), just moments after Tony Blair gave his final address to Parliament. It will now have its second reading on 19 October.

The Bill, which was introduced by Conservative MP Stephen Crabb, has been drawn up by the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) in an attempt to cap spiralling insurance premiums (news, 19 April).

The CLA’s Richard Jarman told H&H he was pleased with the Bill’s progress.

“It’s all quite exciting,” he said. “We now have to keep on and reaffirm the new government’s commitment to amending the Act.”

Mr Jarman added that 11 MPs from four different parties had signed up to support the Bill and that he had received encouraging letters from both Michael Howard and Patricia Hewitt.

CLA president David Fursdon will meet with Hilary Benn, the new secretary of state for the environment, on 11 July.