New laws onanimal welfare will not be effective in preventing horse cruelty unless horse abusers are automatically banned from keeping equines for life after a conviction suggests the International League for the Protection of Horses.

ILPH chief executive John Smales is to write to the Lord Chancellor’s office to press for compulsory disqualification of anyone who is convicted of cruelty to horses.

The government bill to update legislation protecting animals from ill-treatment is due to be published in draft form this spring, but the ILPH is concerned that if sentences follow the current pattern they may not discourage, let alone prevent, horse abusers from reoffending.

“Many of those convicted of animal cruelty go on to ownmore horses,” explained ILPH spokesman Lynda Freebury. “We are often called out to rescue a horse from someone who has ill-treated their charges before. In some tragic cases, the actual horse they have neglected or ill-treated is returned to them.”

The ILPH also points to discrepancies in sentencing between cases and hopes the new legislation will include more severe penalties for anyone that flouts a ban.

Meanwhile, many dog owners may be affected by a total ban on tail docking which looks likely to be included in the legislation, after a government report came down heavily against the practice.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (16 January), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.