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Horse microchipping to become mandatory
"...it is completely unacceptable that hundreds of horses and ponies are left abandoned every year by irresponsible owners."
New rules aim to improve horse welfare 

Defra has introduced new legislation making it compulsory for horses, ponies and donkeys to be microchipped by October 2020, in a bid to prevent abuse and improve welfare.

A new Central Equine Database will allow local authorities and police to trace the owners of abandoned horses and make it easier to rehome the animals, or reunite those that are lost or stolen with their owners.

Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face sanctions from the local authority, including a compliance notice or fines of up to £200.

Earlier this year, the RSPCA revealed it had rescued around 1,000 horses in 2017, the vast majority of which were not microchipped, making it almost impossible to trace their owners. Inspectors often saw horses that had been abandoned whilst very sick, dying or even dead.

Animal welfare minister Lord Gardiner said: “The government shares the British public’s high regard for animal welfare and it is completely unacceptable that hundreds of horses and ponies are left abandoned every year by irresponsible owners.

“That is why we have today laid new regulations in Parliament requiring horses to be microchipped. This will bolster the ability of local authorities and police to identify abandoned animals, ensuring these beautiful creatures receive the care they deserve and that those who mistreat them will face the consequences.”

Chair of the British Horse Council, Jeanette Allen, said the legislation is a “huge advance” for the UK’s horses, ponies and donkeys.

She added: “It will not only enable irresponsible owners to be held properly accountable for the treatment of their animal, it will also aid in reuniting owners with lost or stolen horses and significantly supports the UK’s efforts to protect our equines from disease outbreaks.”

The regulations were laid in parliament on 25 June and, subject to parliamentary approval, will come into force on 1 October 2018.

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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."