East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has welcomed a new law introduced this week to clamp down on people illegally abandoning horses.

The Control of Horses Act 2015, backed by Sir Greg, makes changes to the law to deter people from illegally grazing or simply abandoning horses on public and private land and also makes the problem easier to deal with.

Sir Greg says: “As many as 500 horses are believed to be illegally ‘fly-grazing’ in Yorkshire along with thousands more across the country. The change means horses fly-grazing without permission or in an unsatisfactory place can now be dealt with more quickly and effectively.

Sir Greg said, “The number of stray and abandoned horses has been a growing problem and dealing with the issue has taken a lot of time. There are animal welfare issues involved too.

Under the previous Animals Act 1971 an abandoned horse could only be disposed of after 14 days through sale at market or public auction. The new law means fly-grazing horse owners will have four days to claim their animals. The new legislation also means abandoned horses can be disposed of by private sale, gifting, and rehoming.

Welcoming the change, Sir Greg said, “These changes to the law will give authorities in East Yorkshire greater powers to deal with horses that are left to graze illegally without the landowners’ permission. This will encourage owners to pay proper attention to their animal’s welfare and should ensure that rural areas are no longer blighted by the illegal practice of fly-grazing.”