Authorities in Wales have been given more powers to tackle fly-grazing after the Queen granted royal assent to a new law.

Wales’ farm minister Alun Davies first introduced the Control of Horses (Wales) Bill to tackle fly-grazed, abandoned and straying horses on 14 October 2013. The move followed calls for action from local authorities, animal welfare charities, farmers and the police.

The act was granted royal assent by the Queen at a ceremony in Cardiff on 27 January. It gives local authorities the power to seize, impound, return to the owner, sell, re-home or, as a last resort, euthanise horses by humane means when they are on land without lawful consent. Guidance has been developed to sit alongside the act and is available on the Welsh government website.

Welcoming the royal assent, Mr Davies said: “I introduced this legislation in response to calls for urgent action from our local authorities, police and animal welfare charities.

“I am delighted the Control of Horses (Wales) Act has become law – it will allow local authorities to deal with the problem of fly-grazing head on and sends a loud and clear message that this cruel and distressing practice will not be allowed to continue in Wales.”

In addition to the new legislation, an action plan has been developed that sets out how the Welsh government will work alongside welfare charities and enforcement bodies. The action plan will promote responsible management of horses through improved education and awareness about breeding, ownership and identification.

See more: Farmer speaks out over fly-grazing