A new code of practice for the welfare of horses, ponies and donkeys comes into force from from tomorrow (6 April).

The code outlines the responsibilities horse owners have under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and contains information on diet, behaviour, health and passports (news, 17 December 2009).

Although breaking the code is not a criminal offence, evidence that it has not been adhered to can be used in welfare prosecutions and the code has been welcomed by charities including the RSPCA.

Minister for the horse Jim Fitzpatrick said: “The new codes of practice contain clear and straightforward advice and explain to people their responsibility and legal duty of care to their pets and to help protect animals from pain, injury and disease.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (1 April, ’10)