THURROCK Council has responded to criticism over claims by the equine community that they have failed to act over horses in the Mardyke valley.
A Thurrock Council spokesperson said: “The council owns the land in the Mardyke Valley from Davy Down to Ship Lane and as a condition of funding from the National Lottery it lets the land for a peppercorn rent, for grazing.
The land is not suitable for grazing when it floods, so it has agreed with the tenant that he should move the animals to an alternate site while current conditions prevail.
The council has inspected the site twice in the last three days and this appears to have been done.
In the longer term the council acknowledges the land needs to be more intensively managed than its resources allow.
An environmental organisation would be better placed to do this and the council is moving ahead with plans to change the arrangements in the New Year – although it is likely to take several months to complete.
Legal advice is that, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, responsibility for the care and welfare of the animals is clearly with the owner of the animals, not the land.
The council, via authorised inspectors, the police and the RSPCA all have the same powers under the same Act to remove animals from any site, regardless of its ownership, to alleviate their distress. None of these organisations have felt the need to employ these powers to date.
“The council will of course keep this option under review in discussion with the other agencies”.
At last. It’s only taken the God knows how many years and a host of people and organisations to get them to finally admit what was clear to everyone else. The Mardykes are not suitable for winter grazing for horses or any other animals. This should have been accommodated in the agreement in its initial stages. Summer grazing fine – winter grazing is a no no. WHY should other organisations have to implement anything when it involves the Council’s land and tenant? Anyway, let’s hope Thurrock show a spine here and stick to their word.
Oh and why does the Council keep stating about the tenant and grazing? The tenant is a farmer of cattle. The horses don’t belong to the tenant – they belong to sub-tenants. The agreement prohibits sub-letting. Interesting that Thurrock are now quoting conditions re the National Lottery grant. A whole lot of those conditions have been breached also. They only divulge the bits that suit them. TBC should get a prize for being one of the worst Councils in Essex, and that’s saying something.