day for The British Horse Society as Ragwort Control Bill goes
(18 November) became an historic day in the work of The British
Horse Society (BHS) as its Ragwort Control Bill completed its passage
through parliament and now awaits automatic Royal Assent in the
next day or so.
Bill's journey started almost exactly a year ago following the 2002
ballot for Private Members' Bills. The BHS approached all MPs drawn
in the ballot asking for support for a Bill to protect equines against
the traumas and death resulting in consuming Common Ragwort. John
Greenway, MP for Ryedale in North Yorkshire and drawn No 13 in the
ballot, took up the request and gave it his whole-hearted support.
and cross party MPs also supported the Bill through the Commons
where it was totally unopposed. Baroness Masham of Ilton led the
Bill in the Lords where it came up against amendments tabled by
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, on behalf of Wildlife & Countryside
Link, and the Lord Bishop of Hereford. Concerns were discussed at
Report Stage last week (12 November) about the effect the Bill would
have on Ragwort's ecological status. These concerns were addressed
by Junior Minister Lord Whitty, resulting in the amendments being
chief executive, Kay Driver, said, "We are delighted that the
Ragwort Control Bill has been successful. This will, we hope, make
a real difference in landowners' attitudes towards the need to control
Ragwort. It was the BHS that first raised the issue of Ragwort poisoning
in horses over five years ago with its 'Root out Ragwort' campaign.
The campaign achieved its aim of raising awareness about Ragwort
but we still saw horses ingesting this insidious weed with an agonising
death as a result.
are most grateful to John Greenway for sponsoring the Bill, and
to Baroness Masham for leading it through the House of Lords. Their
names will go down in history as being actively involved in improving
Bill went through its Third Reading without debate and becomes law
three months after adoption.