Adam Afriyie column: Abandoned horses are not an uncommon problem

Adam Afriyie

Many of you will remember the dreadful situation in 2014 when nearly 40 horses were abandoned in Binfield in the Windsor constituency.

It was immensely distressing to see these animals abandoned in such a heartless way and I’d like to thank again those who came together to provide the horses with food and water.

Sadly this problem is not uncommon. In recent years abandoned and fly-grazing horses have become an acute and expensive problem for landowners, local authorities, enforcement agencies and the welfare charities who will soon be physically unable to cope with the number of horses needing urgent care.

So I was delighted to meet with Saving Abandoned Fly-Grazing Equines (SAFE) earlier this month, a small group of volunteers in Berkshire and Surrey who managed to save and subsequently re-home 22 of the abandoned horses in 2014.

SAFE’s mission is to support and advise local landowners to legally rescue and re-home abandoned and neglected horses in the Berkshire and Surrey area, as well as to find a way to tackle the wider issue of irresponsible horse owners.

Indeed, there’s no doubt that in 2014 everyone agreed that the perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions.

Having spoken with several MPs about the issue, there’s no doubt that there is a strong consensus and a real desire to make regulations work better.

Nobody wants to see these gentle and trusting animals treated so cruelly.

While it may take some careful consideration and time, given the complexity of the regulations and the various authorities involved, there must be a way to tackle irresponsible overbreeding, locate owners and ensure serious consequences for those who abandon their horses.

Where there’s a will there’s a way!

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