PETER Broadley (The Press, Letters, July 1) is right to describe the tethering of horses as barbaric, but he is wrong to imply that the main issue is tethering next to main roads. Tethering in other locations is equally cruel.

The horses tied up on open land around York and elsewhere are only occasionally given water, despite the fact that, as the International League for the Protection of Horses states, a horse requires at least ten gallons of water per day; and they are denied shelter from the elements. In the summer, many of them have noses and lips so badly burned that they are covered in blisters and scabs.

They are at constant risk of death from poisonous plants, of injury, and of conditions such as croup, heatstroke and foot problems.

As well as being immoral, everything these owners are doing is also illegal under the terms of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which imposes a duty of pre-emptive care.

Owners must ensure that their animals are free from hunger, thirst, pain, injury, disease, fear and distress. Any animal suspected of being at risk of suffering, either physical or mental, can be removed to a place of safety.

If a single one of the stipulations is ignored, the owner can be prosecuted immediately and, if found guilty, imprisoned for up to 51 weeks and/or fined up to £20,000.

The law exists. It’s time the police and RSPCA started to use it.

Chris Riley, Howitt Street, Heanor, Derbyshire.