The RSPCA says it is “delighted” assembly members in the Welsh Government have voted unanimously in support of its Control of Horses (Wales) Bill, but is again urging Westminster to follow and prevent the “horse crisis” escalating across the country.

The new legislation, which will seek royal assent in early 2014, will equip local authorities in Wales with additional powers to tackle fly grazing and abandonment.

According to the RSPCA, the announcement comes at a time when equine problems in England and Wales are at “crisis point“, with around 6,500 animals (approximately 3,000 in Wales) still thought to be at risk with issues of traceability, identification, irresponsible ownership and tethering. Legislation is a “positive step forward”, said the charity, but “does not provide all the answers to the equine crisis”.

RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said: “We are delighted this legislation is now set to become a reality, although it is not a full panacea for the horse crisis.

“This problem does not just affect Wales, however – we need action and a solution across the whole of the UK.

“We have around 800 abused or abandoned horses in our care and we are working with hundreds more that need our help, but we have nowhere for them to go.

“What we need is better legislation and enforcement to track down irresponsible owners; education for those who leave their animals to indiscriminately breed and more flexibility for local authorities to provide us with even more help to deal with the numbers of horses left to breed, graze, suffer and often die on other people’s land.”

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