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The British Horse Society Private Member's Bill: Equine Welfare (Ragwort Control) Act published

The British Horse Society's initiative has plenty of support

The Private Member's Bill initiated by the British Horse Society and aimed at reducing equine fatalities due to ragwort poisoning has now been published. The Bill, sponsored by John Greenway MP (Cons) for Ryedale in Yorkshire, has its Second Reading on Friday 21 March.

The Bill is supported by the British Horseracing Board, the National Farmers Union, equine welfare organisations and a large number of cross party MPs. It amends the Weeds Act 1959 to place a duty of responsibility on public authorities such as highways authorities and statutory undertakers to 'take all reasonable steps to remove ragwort from relevant land occupied by him and to prevent the growth or regrowth of ragwort on such land'. The Government is taking a keen interest in the Bill as it affects authorities that are governed outside of DEFRA's remit.

In publishing his Bill John Greenway said, "I am pleased to be promoting this Bill drafted by the BHS. My office has received considerable support from equestrian organisations and horse owners and I look forward to presenting it to the Commons on 21 March. With a conservative figure of 500 equines dying in 2001* from the effects of ragwort poisoning I hope this Bill will go a long way to alleviate the suffering caused by this insidious weed."

BHS Chief Executive, Kay Driver, added "We are now building on the success of the Society's 'Root out Ragwort' campaign and the response that Mr Greenway has received to this Bill shows how much awareness has been created as to the dangers of ragwort ingestion to all equines. We hope that the Bill is successful and can go forward unopposed."

The BHS is encouraging all equestrians to write to their MPs asking them to support this Bill on its Second Reading. Letters should be addressed to the relevant MP at: The House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA or their constituency office. Any replies should be copied and sent to the Media Office at The British Horse Society, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2XZ.

Copies of the Bill, which has the long title: 'Equine Welfare (Ragwort Control) Bill; to make provision for the protection of horses from ragwort poisoning; to amend the Weeds Act 1959; and for connected purposes' can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office, St Clements House, 2-16 Colegate, Norwich NR3 1BQ for £1.50, or can be viewed at:


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