Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 23 May 2017

British Horse Survey reveals welfare concerns an issue for owners

Horse welfare is a major issue in Britain too, as the results of a survey from leading international equine charity World Horse Welfare revealed recently.

More than 14,000 people responded to the 'Great British Horse Survey', with more than three quarters describing themselves as horse owners.

The findings revealed that only one in four horse owners ranked the risk of infectious disease highly, despite the emergence last year of the first cases of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) in Britain for three decades.

The overall perception of horse welfare in sports was quite positive, but some are considered to be better.

Regulated

When asked 'How well do you think the treatment of horses is regulated in the following sports?', the sport of eventing came out on top as 84pc of respondents said that the treatment of horses was either 'quite well', 'well-regulated' or 'very well-regulated'. This was followed by dressage at 80pc, show jumping at 77pc and endurance at 74pc.

However around one in four horse owners surveyed thought the regulation of treatment of horses in flat racing and jump racing was "quite poor, poor or very poor", and almost one in five thought the same for polo and hunting.

When asked about the significant rise in horse welfare concerns, different factors were quoted depending on whether individual horses or groups of horses were suffering.

In the case of individual horses, the most common factors were considered to be: 'Novice horse owners not knowing how to care for their horse' (83pc), 'Horse owners not being able to afford to look after their horses properly' (82pc) and 'Reluctance to put an ill or badly injured horse to sleep at the appropriate time' (67pc).

Concerns

For groups of horses, respondents thought welfare concerns arose most from 'Over breeding' (63pc), 'Unregulated horse sales' (58pc), 'Horse owners not being able to afford to look after their horses properly' (52pc) and 'Authorities not intervening' (51pc).

When asked 'What would improve horse welfare the most', the results showed that over 56pc of respondents felt that education was the key. One-third of people believed that proper enforcement of legislation was needed and almost 20pc thought a reduction in overbreeding would help improve horse welfare the most.

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