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It’s time to break the chain

You might be surprised to hear that the tethering of horses on the roadside is still legal. This is in spite of the fact that the practice is clearly cruel to the horses and potentially dangerous to passers-by. The horse welfare charity, HorseWorld have now launched a campaign to end the tethering of horses for prolonged periods.

HorseWorld is often contacted by members of the pubic who have been shocked to find horses tethered by their necks, frequently with metal chains. The horses can be left in dangerous and exposed locations where some degree of suffering is inevitable.

Thousands of horses tethered

It is thought that as many as 3,500 horses can be tethered across the UK at any one time. Left on grass verges and close to busy roads, the horses have a miserable time, but the police cannot intervene as the owners are not breaking the law. HorseWorld believe that it is time for change and so have launched the Break the Chain campaign.

Unacceptable treatment

It simply isn’t acceptable that horses can be left out in all weathers and in terrible conditions. Exposed to extreme heat without any access to shade or alone in freezing temperatures with no shelter, the horses quickly begin to suffer.

If tethered to a tree they can injure themselves and they quickly become prey to flies and pests. The ground beneath them is eventually contaminated with droppings as the animals can’t move and they are completely deprived of social interaction.

Imprisoned horses

Tethered horses have little or no freedom of movement. They are essentially imprisoned and can’t flee when frightened. They can’t run and they are prevented from grazing for food. Their physical and mental health is affected. Little surprise that many people consider tethering to be a form of torture.

The Campaign

Launched at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) 5th October 2018, Break the Chain aims to enhance awareness and bring about changes to the law. HorseWorld want the time a horse, pony or donkey can be tethered to be restricted to a maximum of 24 hours. They also wish to see a ban imposed on tethering animals in unsafe locations. They believe that anyone who has nowhere to keep their horse other than on the side of the road should not be allowed to keep the animal.

Pregnant mare tethered

In 2015, the charity rescued a mare who had been forced to give birth while tethered by a chain. In this particular case, HorseWorld were permitted to seize the horse and her foal because she showed signed of long term neglect. In addition, the foal was considered to be in danger of being injured. The horses were taken back to HorseWorld for their rehabilitation.

Their new home was a much better alternative to the mare’s previous life when she was often left without shelter or water. She had also been forced to live in a field with an aggressive stallion who had attacked her foal. She had been prevented from defending her baby and had become terribly distressed as a result. When she was found by the charity, she had overgrown and split hooves.

The mare and her foal have been doing well in their new home. But there are many more horses which continue to suffer. It’s time to break the chain.


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