An equine charity in Wales has opposed a suggested ban on tethering horses.
Swansea City Council has received calls for a ban to combat the widespread problem of tethering in public areas.
However, the Community Horse and Pony Scheme (CHAPS) has launched a petition against such a ban.
“On the surface, this might seem an unlikely stance for an organisation focussed on animal welfare in the community,” said a CHAPS spokesman.
“However, we have learnt that when tethering is discouraged or prevented, there is the likelihood that horses are moved out of public sight, to even less suitable environments, such as unsuitable yards, garages and garden sheds.
“There is often no exercise area, the stables are rarely cleaned and food and water provision is often woefully inadequate — animals suffer more than they would if they were tethered.”
CHAPS believe that educating owners will help combat the problem of tethering.
A Swansea City Council spokesman told H&H they are exploring the issues surrounding horse welfare and tethering, but they were not yet at a stage where they were considering a ban.
Tethering is not illegal, but welfare charities including the RSPCA do not recommend the practice.
“When investigating calls of concern about tethered horses the RSPCA uses the Welsh Government, Code of Practice for the welfare of equines,” said inspector Neill Manley.
“Even when tethered in the short term, many tethered horses do not meet the minimum standard laid out in the codes of practice and owners run the risk of falling foul of the law.
“Under the Animal Welfare Act owners have a legal duty of care to meet the five welfare needs of their horses at all times. Those who tether a horse could be in breach of the Act if it means that the animal’s basic needs are not being met. If a horse needs to be tethered in order to have access to grazing, it must only be for short periods of time. For the remainder of the day the horse should have access to shelter, and a space to run free and interact freely with other horses.”
- Pony’s head was nearly severed by tethering chain
- ‘Distressed’ mare rescued by charity after being forced to foal while tethered
- Yearling suffered serious injuries after being tethered with twine
CHAPS was set up in 2014 after receiving a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
The organisation is based on a 26-acre site in Gowerton, Swansea, where it provides rural and equine-based activities and training. It also rehomes horses, promotes equine welfare and provides a range of educational opportunities.
CHAPS supports people in the community through therapy involving horses and outdoor activities.