The Tragedy of Animal Abuse
The sad history of how animals are treated poorly is long. In the beginning, God appointed mankind as custodians over all of the earth’s animals. He did not dictate that they should harm animals with utter cruelty.
Most acts of abuse against domestic, rural and farm animals are committed out of ignorance. There are also those who are fully aware of how animals should be reared but choose to disregard laws and common decency. Acts of cruelty and neglect should be severely punishable by law.
Horses and Hounds
With an industrious reputation for effective farming and horse breeding, the United Kingdom is a legislative leader in ensuring the heritage of domestic and farm animals remains rich. Derbyshire has became a focal point in highlighting the urgency to reign in those who abandon horses in their care. Instances of horses being left to graze unattended for long periods of time on private or public owned land have been documented.
Apart from the illegal encroachment, it places the animals in a vulnerable, if not dangerous situation. Responding to the phenomenon of ‘fly-grazing,’ the UK government has created new legislation. Up to 3,000 horses are known to be grazing illegally in rural regions across the UK. The new law, however, has consequences for the horses rather than their owners. It does not appear to fully guarantee the protection of animals and favors the land owners.
Protecting Land Owners
The Control of Horses Act 2015 does not protect the animals. It protects the land owners on whose land the horses graze unattended. It also seems to absolve the horse owners.
The moot argument goes that the horses are not necessarily abandoned by their owners but may have wandered onto other properties. It goes without saying that horses left to graze unattended will wander off. The new law essentially empowers landowners to take their own course of action to respond to illegal grazing on their land.
From the Top
However, Minister George Eustice suggests that horses can be returned home quickly and effectively while simultaneously improving the welfare of the animals. Basically, Eustice is responding directly to the needs of his constituencies. He is responding to their loss of income and conversely argues that this won’t be to the detriment of the horses.
Henry Robinson, President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), is happy with the new act. Robinson also seems to react out of consideration for the landowners and not the animals. He is dutifully responding to the needs of the CLA’s members.
Let Them Graze in Peace
No one seems to be acting in the interests of the horses and the legislation does not appear to severely reprimand the horses’ irresponsible owners. While the Control of Horses Act is a progressive step, government, farmers and landowners need to be equal in their actions towards ensuring the welfare of the animals. Legislating against the true culprits will allow the horses to graze in peace as God intended.
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