National Equine Welfare Council Appoints New President

The National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) has appointed a new president following the retirement of former president, Dr Harry Greenway.

NEWC is delighted to announce that Dr David Marlin PhD has accepted their invitation to take on the role for a three-year period.

 

David is an internationally renowned equine physiologist and biochemist with over 25 years’ experience in academia, industry and consulting and is an author on over 200 published peer-reviewed papers. His main areas of equine expertise are exercise physiology, nutrition, fitness, training, performance, thermoregulation, competition strategy, transport and respiratory disease.

Dr David Marlin, NEWC President:

“I feel honoured and privileged to have been invited to take up the position of President of the National Equine Welfare Council. The pursuit of enhanced standards in equine welfare has been a cause close to my heart throughout my extensive career as a scientist specialising in equine physiology and nutrition. Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with many professionals in the field, spanning elite riders competing at the highest level, fellow academics who focus on research, clinical services and training within the equine health sector and of course, a myriad of commercial businesses involved in the equestrian market. I hope that these established connections will benefit the National Equine Welfare Council, enabling us to engage with a wider audience to promote the code of practice for welfare organisations involved in the keeping of horses, ponies and donkeys. I must of course also thank the outgoing President, Dr Harry Greenway, who has devoted so much of his personal time to the Council and has been so pivotal to its success. I will do my best to emulate his exemplary service.”

Nic deBrauwere, NEWC Chair:

“NEWC recognise the valuable contribution David makes to understanding, challenging and communicating on matters of equine welfare by drawing on his vast scientific expertise.  David’s active work with all levels of the equine industry means he is ideally placed to offer NEWC guidance and counsel as well as encourage an active interest by the wider equestrian world in the work of NEWC.”

NEWC is a ‘not for profit’ membership organisation for equine welfare charities and other equine and equestrian bodies who have an active interest in welfare. NEWC works to safeguard equine welfare through an accreditation scheme for any member that keeps horses, ponies donkeys or mules,  providing advice and support for welfare concerns, the promotion of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules ready for rehoming, and the provision of an array of advice and guidance on equine care and management for private and professional horse keepers.

As part of their Strategic Plan, NEWC aims to raise its profile by increasing its membership and being an asset to individuals and organisations with an interest in equine welfare and to support those who are looking for more information about the subject and the sector.

Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund – Applications Open for 2nd Funding Round

The Covid-19 Equine Emergency Fund – established by Petplan Charitable Trust and the National Equine Welfare Council with the support of World Horse Welfare, to provide assistance to small charities during the pandemic – has announced the award of the first seven grants totalling £20,350.

 

The Fund’s committee stressed the need to provide immediate help to those organisations caring for equines whose cashflow had been most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The committee also recognised that there is often less financial pressure on organisations over the summer months and that the full financial impact of the pandemic is yet to be felt.  This could also be magnified by the uncertainty surrounding how soon volunteer support and income from events will resume.  Hence, there are two further scheduled rounds closing on Friday 24th July and Friday 16th October, with the possibility of extending a further funding round in December.

Application link:  https://petplancharitabletrust.org.uk/covid-19-equine-emergency-fund/

David Simpson of the Petplan Charitable Trust said “We received a number of applications where charities were holding everything together now, but there was obviously great uncertainty as to how long their funds would last.  It was good to be able to offer emergency support to those organisations that most need it now and to be in a position to provide further funding to eligible organisations who may need help in the coming months.”

Financial support for the fund, set up in May, has been given by World Horse Welfare, RSPCA, The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings and the British Horse Society. The maximum grant will be £5,000, with the expectation that the average grant will be around £2,500-£3,000. Grants will be decided by a committee comprising representatives from NEWC, World Horse Welfare, RSPCA and The Donkey Sanctuary with PPCT administering the fund.

Applicants need not be NEWC members, but rescue and rehoming of equines should be the primary focus of the organisation. However, if more applications are received than funds available, priority will be given to NEWC members and those organisations that have not received emergency funding from other emergency funds (e.g. Support Adoption for Pets Emergency Fund).

DEFRA approves updated guidelines for animal rescue and rehoming in England

An updated document has been approved to provide guidance for rescue, rehoming centres and organisations that are working in England during the Covid-19 crisis.

 

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDANCE HERE.

The Government has already permitted companion animal rescue and rehoming organisations to remain open throughout the crisis to provide for the ongoing needs of animals in their care. This guidance has now been updated to reflect changes to the restrictions imposed on companion animal rescue and rehoming organisations operating in England by the Government following the publication of its Recovery Strategy.

The guidance is in five sections, covering:
•  The admission (intake) of animals into a rescue environment;
•  The assessment of behaviour of animals whilst in a rescue environment;
• The care of animals whilst in a rescue environment; veterinary care of animals in a rescue environment or to be rehomed;
• The rehoming (adoption) of animals, including temporary placement in a foster home (or equivalent).

We advise our members operating in or travelling to/from Scotland or Wales to check the advice from their relevant government – further information is available here for Scotland, and here for Wales.

Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund goes live!

Petplan Charitable Trust has joined together with World Horse Welfare and NEWC to create the fund to help smaller equine welfare organisations across the UK who are being significantly impacted by the current crisis.

 

Applications opened on Monday 11th May, and the deadline for the first round of applications is Friday 5th June 2020. The maximum grant will be £5,000 with average grants expected to be around £2,500.
Follow the link below for more information and to apply online 👇

Grants will be decided by a Committee comprising representatives from NEWC, the supporting charities and an independent member, with PPCT administering the fund.

All equine welfare organisations have experienced unprecedented financial and operational challenges as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  On top of looking after the animals in their care with very limited rehoming possible, they have had to close their centres to visitors, cancel fundraising events and see donations dry up during the ongoing crisis. This can be especially devastating for smaller charities.

Applicants need not be NEWC members, but rescue and rehoming of equines should be the primary focus of the organisation. If more applications are received than funds available, priority will be given to NEWC members and those smaller organisations that have not received emergency funding from other emergency funds (e.g. Support Adoption for Pets Emergency Fund).

Support for the Fund, which was set up at the end of last month with a commitment of £50,000 from Petplan Charitable Trust, has already raised a further £80,000 from the RSPCA (England & Wales), The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare and the The British Horse Society.

David Simpson, Chair of PPCT, stated “The Petplan Charitable Trust has always supported the tremendous work horse rescues perform and we are delighted to work alongside others to help in these difficult times.”

Roly Owers, MRCVS, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said “The current situation, and the economic fallout from the pandemic, will just make a bad situation a whole lot worse. There is no capacity within the UK’s equine rescue system so it is vital, as we start to rehome animals again, that we have as many organisations as possible working to support the inevitable tidal wave of welfare cases that will need help over the course of this year.

“We are hugely grateful to our sister charities, including the RSPCA, The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings and the BHS for supporting the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund and to the PPCT for agreeing to administer this vital safety net to smaller, but no less important, equine welfare organisations during this extraordinary time.”

DEFRA and The Scottish Government approve new guidelines for rehoming

Recent guidance, approved by the English and Scottish Governments, now means that companion animal organisations (including equines) can start to rehome to the public provided they follow certain measures to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

 

This will allow vital space to be freed-up for animals in urgent need, however it is essential that the steps outlined in the guidance are followed to protect human and animal health and welfare.

The full guidance has been issued by the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) (full guidance) and The National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) has produced a guidance document specifically to support equine rescue organisations (additional equine guidance) rehome responsibly during these unprecedented times.

Please note that application of the guidance in Wales is pending approval, so we advise our members operating in or travelling to/from Wales to check with their local government if unclear.

NEWC Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance

NEWC advises all its members to strictly adhere to the Government’s directive to stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel. Please keep your own health and safety in mind, as well as that of everyone around you.

 

It is still considered ‘essential’ to attend to the welfare of horses and other livestock, making your travel as an employee, owner or volunteer to provide care permissible under the current guidance.

 

We will share any information which becomes available from the Government as well as from the equine and allied sectors. To help you through these uncertain and rapidly-changing times, we’ve put together some guidance around looking after and managing horses under the current requirements. Please note, while the guidance is current at the point of publication, it may quickly be superseded following further government updates, or changes to the situation.

Triage of care – veterinary and farriery services are currently operating under a triage, or traffic-light, system in order to determine which cases require attendance in person or if a visit could be postponed. 

Please familiarise yourself with the current information provided in the links below: 

https://www.rcvs.org.uk/setting-standards/advice-and-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19/

https://www.beva.org.uk/coronavirus

https://www.bva.co.uk/media/3399/bva-guidance-for-veterinary-practices-on-covid19-march-2020.pdf

https://www.forgeandfarrier.co.uk/bfba-news/1069/bfba-advice-for-farriers-24-03-20-part-3.htm

FAQs – we have addressed below some of the concerns that might arise during these unprecedented circumstances:

Why can’t rescue centres admit equines at the moment?

All NEWC members and other responsible charities will already be assisting as many equines in need as possible, with the resources of money, people and facilities at their disposal. Limits on movement of people and therefore animals will force us to all do the minimum necessary to deal with only the most urgent welfare concerns. At the end of the initial period of the most extensive lockdown measures, charities will increase their capacity to respond and prioritise the most urgent cases until they can return to a normal level of service.

Why can’t I rehome a horse at the moment?

Following the Government’s stay at home advice and ban on non-essential travel, our member charities and rescue centres will be focusing their efforts on the welfare of the horses in their care.  Most charities are currently experiencing much reduced staff numbers and therefore are needing to prioritise their time to focus on the maintenance care of their horses on site. It is critical that employees are kept safe as well as the horses in their care and members of the public. Once the travel ban is lifted, some charities may be able to rehome on a case by case basis via their remote schemes, which will free-up much needed space for new admissions.

Why can’t charities provide financial help to owners?

Charities that are members of NEWC have been working at maximum capacity for the last few years (during what has become known as the equine crisis) and have saved money held in reserves as required by fundraising regulations, to ensure they can manage times of extreme financial challenge or as a last resort, to ensure the orderly winding down of a charity. These reserves will have suffered a decline in value alongside all other investments.

The charities are also likely to need to draw on these reserves to protect their staff and animals in the next weeks and months. Everyone is going to face difficult decisions and there will be limited funds to support other charities and individuals who are concerned about continuing to provide care for the animals they are responsible for. All the NEWC members will do their utmost to provide helpful guidance and direct owners to sources of further information; but it is unlikely that they will be able to admit animals, provide financial support or offer direct help in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

Can I still volunteer?

Following the government stay at home guidance and restrictions on non-essential travel, many of our members are having to adapt to the changing situation and put temporary measures in place, which may mean they are currently unable to recruit new volunteers due to restricted time and resources. Once the travel ban is lifted it is worth getting in touch with them if you are still keen to volunteer as your help and support may be very much appreciated.

Some smaller charities may rely on volunteers to care for the equines in their care. If this is the case, they should follow the Government’s guidelines with regards to social distancing and no one should volunteer if they are experiencing any symptoms of covid-19, or if they are classed as or live with a vulnerable person.

Why aren’t horses being rescued by the RSPCA? 

Each year charities such as the RSPCA answer more than a million calls from the public concerned about animals. The RSPCA is still rescuing horses from emergencies. The RSPCA have a team of frontline officers working around the clock across England and Wales to deal with emergency-only cases.

What is classed as an emergency by the RSPCA?

RSPCA inspectors are dealing with emergencies, which are classed as cases where: there is an immediate risk to life; the animal is critically injured or in imminent danger; or where the animal is likely to die in the near future without help. RSPCA officers will also deal with cases where animals have been abandoned and are not able to fend by themselves and the RSPCA will also be on hand to offer telephone advice and guidance where appropriate, or signpost to other charities and organisations that can help.

How can people help equine charities?

The NEWC member charities all rely on voluntary donations to fund all of their services. The biggest help people can provide for charities is through donating, to enable them to continue their vital support to equines in need. However, it is really important that people check that charities are reputable and that their support will provide the best possible benefit to animals. Naturally, we would ask that people support charities that are members of the National Equine Welfare Council, as this provides reassurance that they are genuine, and that they meet NEWC standards for animal care and governance. Be extra careful of supporting fundraising campaigns that are not operated through registered charities.

How can people help field officers?

Please only contact equine welfare charities in the event of an emergency. For everything else please look on charity websites as there is lots of information on there. We would ask those calling with emergencies to be patient as, despite contingency planning, charities have fewer people available to answer calls. The charities are also asking the public to be supportive by understanding that they cannot see as many cases as before; and if reporting a concern to a charity, please be patient and understanding if additional information is asked for to try and ensure we do get to the most needy animals first.

How can people help each other?

If you care for animals, follow the Government and NHS advice to be prepared if you have to go into isolation or hospital and have all the information ready and confirm that there are people willing and able to look after your animal’s essential needs.

Who can people contact for advice?

Because all the charities and equestrian organisations are running on skeleton staff, please don’t call, avoid unnecessary emails and first look at the links provided here and follow links to reputable organisations.

Many different questions and scenarios may arise during the coronavirus pandemic. There is a wealth of information and guidance available from the sources below:

Defra

Scottish Government

The British Horse Society

World Horse Welfare

The Donkey Sanctuary

Blue Cross

The British Equestrian Federation (1)

NEWC have also previously issued advice related to responsible rehoming, and for owners looking to cut costs while maintaining the care of their animals, both of which contain useful advice and information that may be of use during the current situation.

COVID-19 ‘Top Ten Guidelines for Farriers’

The COVID-19 ‘Top Ten Guidelines for Farriers’ has been produced by The Horse Trust in collaboration with The British Equine Veterinary Association, World Horse Welfare, University of Liverpool and British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association, to ensure the safety of farriers and their customers.

NEWC Annual General Meeting – Postponed

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the NEWC Annual General Meeting, which was due to be scheduled for the end of April 2020, will be postponed until further notice.

 

Although we are announcing the postponement with great disappointment, we strongly believe that it is the only reasonable decision in the present situation.

 

The NEWC Directors are currently considering the best course of action to take to meet the Council’s legal obligations to hold the Annual General Meeting whilst ensuring the well-being of all attendees.

 

We will keep you informed of any further developments.

Charities combine expertise to help horse owners cut costs not care

Member charities of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) have collaborated to produce two practical guides; one to help horse owners find ways to cut costs without compromising on care and another on making the difficult decision to rehome a horse.

Equine charities are continuing to receive large numbers of calls from horse owners seeking alternative homes for their animals. There are over one million horses and donkeys in the UK and the charitable sector has limited space available and must prioritise welfare and rescue cases.

“Of course we want to be able to help every horse,” said Nic De Brauwere, Chairman of NEWC. “But with limited funds and resources available we have to prioritise on those in greatest need. By showing how outgoings can be reduced without compromising on the horse’s quality of life we aim to help owners in making the decision to keep their horse and help prevent inadvertent neglect or abandonment. Otherwise we can help them safely navigate the rehoming route.”

NEWC has produced two detailed guides, both of which can be downloaded below. In situations where owners are considering rehoming their horses because they can no longer afford to keep them the ‘Cut cost not care’ guide suggests where sufficient savings may be made to help them keep their horse without making any compromise on health or welfare.

If care costs are still too great and rehoming remains the only option NEWC’s ‘Rehome responsibly’ guide helps horse owners consider the options whether selling, loaning or retiring. Euthanasia is also discussed in cases where quality of life is diminishing and rehoming solutions are not appropriate.

“We hope the guides will provide support for horse owners who are facing tough decisions this winter, to help to keep more horses and ponies well cared for and secure.” Said Nic.

The guides can be downloaded here: Cut cost not care and Responsible re-homing