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The British Horse Society

BHS Ragwort Control Act becomes law this month

The British Horse Society sponsored Ragwort Control Act becomes law on 20 February, some fourteen months after it was declared in the 2002 Private Members' Bill parliamentary ballot.

The Act provides for a statutory code of practice to prevent and control the spread of ragwort, the first time such a code has been established. In anticipation of the Bill's success, Defra commissioned ADAS to draft the code and set up a steering group of interested organisations, including the BHS who had initially approached the department about producing a code.

It is expected that the code will be finalised and passed before parliament in time for the Spring growing season when Ragwort is at the rosette stage of its lifecycle.

BHS chief executive Kay Driver said, "The Society's success in sponsoring a Private Members' Bill that will be of marked benefit for horse welfare epitomises our work. Many people were instrumental in bringing about this Bill but particular thanks must be extended to John Greenway MP for taking the Bill forward, to Baroness Masham of Ilton for leading it through the House of Lords and to the Minister, the Rt. Hon Alun Michael, and his team at Defra for their support.

"Too many horses have died from Ragwort poisoning and, sadly, no doubt others will in the future. But with the Ragwort Control Act becoming law and making provision for a code of practice we trust that landowners and occupiers will recognise their responsibilities and that they have a duty of care towards controlling the spread of Ragwort seeds, and, in time, we will see reducing numbers of equine deaths caused by Ragwort."


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