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Banning tethering would not improve equine welfare in Swansea - don't ban, educate

This petition had 262 supporters

The Tethered Horses Scrutiny Working Group of the Council in Swansea are currently considering how to improve the welfare of the many urban horses that live in the area. There is some pressure to introduce a ban on the tethering of horses in Swansea but this would not improve equine welfare and would most likely make the situation worse.

This statement modified to focus on Swansea, with permission, from a statement by TAWS (a respected charity working internationally to advise on issues affecting mostly working animals) outlines the reason we oppose the introduction of a ban on tethering.  Please support this petition to encourage the working group and ultimately the Council to consider all the information available before introducing a potentially harmful ban.

Statement opposing the introduction of by laws banning tethering in Swansea 

Tethering is common practice within both urban and rural horse owning communities in many regions across the UK including Swansea. Welfare concerns associated with tethering  include insufficient forage, lack of shelter and water as well as risk of road traffic injuries in case of escape.

When tethering is discouraged or prevented, there is the likelihood that horses are moved out of public sight, to even less suitable environments. Typically unsuitable yards, garages, garden sheds, barns marshes and commons, or more fly grazing in other areas.The stables that are on offer to these communities are very few and not equipped to provide the care that horses require. There is no turnout, or exercise area the stables are  rarely cleaned, and where food and water provision is often woefully inadequate, animals suffer more than they would if they were tethered. In addition, when kept inside on private premises, it is more difficult for welfare organisations and concerned members of the public to monitor the animals.

Introducing a ban on tethering therefore risks further compromising animal welfare. Mitigation measures include a strategy for full enforcement of the ban and working with the communities who practice tethering to find solutions that are accessible, practical and achievable. Such mitigation is resource intensive, impracticable and the communities are unlikely to be open to engagement if threatened by the ban.  

The solution lies not in banning a widespread management practice such as tethering but in working, through education and appropriate community engagement, to address the causes of the welfare issues. Solving one welfare problem by creating another is neither an ethical nor a rational approach towards improving animal welfare.

Signatories to the TAWS Statement

NGOs and Organisations

Change For Animals Foundation (CFAF)
Community Horse and Pony Scheme (CHAPS)
Equine Behaviour and Training Association (EBTA)
The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT)
World Association for Transport Animal Welfare and Studies (TAWS)

Professionals (vets, behaviourists and welfare officers)
Amber Batson BVetMed MRCVS, Priory Veterinary Group, Surrey
Chris Daborn BVetMed, MSc, MRCVS, Tropical Veterinary Services Ltd. Leigh Honeyball, Kent based volunteer Field officer working for Brownbread horse rescue
Suzanne Rogers CHBC, Equine Behaviourist and Welfare Consultant, Learning About Animals, UK
Anna Saillet BSc (Hons) MSc - Equine Behaviour Consultant at Equine Behaviour Solutions
Kelly Taylor-Saunders Certified Horse Behaviour Consultant BSc (hons) BCaBA CHBC       

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