Animal Welfare Groups Join Forces To Improve
British Horse Society to administer voluntary scheme
vets and leading equine welfare groups have joined forces to ask
livery yards throughout the country to join a voluntary approvals
and registration scheme designed to improve and standardise conditions
for horses and ponies.
will be administered by The British Horse Society (BHS) and supported
by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), the International
League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), the Royal Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the Scottish Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) and the Home of
Rest for Horses. The scheme was launched at the Golden Jubilee Royal
International Horse Show on July 26.
British Horse Society Livery Yard Approval Scheme was devised after
veterinary surgeons became concerned about welfare conditions in
many of the yards they visited. "The bulk of our concerns were
not about outright cruelty but in most cases centred on the way
the animals were kept by often inexperienced owners," said
BEVA information officer Lesley Barwise-Munro.
because the BHS was already running a very successful 'approvals'
operation for riding schools, we went to discuss it with them."
And she added: "We think this is the first time that all these
groups have actively cooperated in a drive to improve equine welfare."
are South Essex Insurance Brokers, Intervet and Merial Animal Health.
chief executive Kay Driver said: "Obviously, welfare implications
are very important to us, but this scheme will also benefit proprietors
and horse owners. It will bring standards up to the level of the
best existing yards, and may even help them to find improvements,
all of which will create more peace of mind for owners, enable us
to publish a list of approved yards and help proprietors to find
will also be in a position to help and advise more directly on things
like legislation, access, safety, insurance and welfare generally."
While it is not thought the scheme will have any impact on costs,
the BHS does point towards its recent success in persuading the
government to remove
VAT from livery charges as the type of service it provides.
the groups involved are also watching closely for government moves
towards compulsory licensing of livery yards in the planned modernising
of the Protection of Animals Act. DEFRA minister Elliot Morley has
commented publicly on the anomaly of establishments boarding dogs
and cats needing licenses but that there was nothing similar for
could be that the Livery Yard Approvals Scheme could provide a great
deal of help to government if this were contemplated," said
Mrs Driver. "Certainly the inspection demands in the scheme
will help anyone planning to open yards, particularly farmers contemplating
scheme demands an initial inspection, with annual unannounced visits
by full-time inspectors to ensure standards are maintained. It includes
as well, a grievance procedure to deal with complaints by owners,
with the proprietor kept informed throughout.
detailed information pack is available to livery yard proprietors
considering registration. Fees have been calculated on the number
of stables available and there is a section for Do-it-Yourself yards,
where owners rent a stable and facilities but care for their horses
and ponies themselves.