The government will not look at licensing livery yards for at least two years, DEFRA admitted in a meeting with the equestrian industry last week.
Two other pieces of secondary legislation due to be introduced from the Animal Welfare Act — the regulation of tethering and animal sanctuaries — have also slipped from the current legislative timetable, which runs until the end of 2008.
The news came during a regular update meeting of the British Horse Industry Confederation (BHIC) and DEFRA officials last Tuesday.
“We’re very disappointed that equine-related parts of the Act are not going to be brought into play straight away,” said BHIC chairman Graham Cory. “These are welfare issues that need to be addressed.”
The next timetable for secondary legislation from the Animal Welfare Act (which comes into force on 6 April 2007) begins in early 2009.
A DEFRA spokesman admitted to H&H that the issues were originally planned for the first timetable, but defended the department.
“This is not a DEFRA decision,” she said. “When the Act was discussed in Parliament, certain issues were given more attention than they should have been. For example, Greyhound welfare was very topical for MPs, but livery yards were deemed less so. As a result, they slipped off the agenda.”
Read this story in full in today’s Horse & Hound (8 March, ’07)