Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals. Welfare is measured by various indicators including behaviour, physiology, longevity, and reproduction.
Five Freedoms. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 enshrines the animal owner’s ‘Duty of Care’ in British Law. The Five Freedoms to which we should aspire are:
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
2. Freedom from discomfort
3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
4. Freedom to express normal behaviour
5. Freedom from fear and distress.
Abandonment. NEWC has seen an increase in the number of abandoned horses over the last few years. http://www.newc.co.uk/advice/welfare/abandonment/
Tethering. Welfare organisations regularly receive calls from members of the public who are concerned about equines that they have seen tethered on a rope or chain. These are often noticed on open areas of land or close to roadways. People who report such equines are usually concerned that the animals are not properly cared for or that tethering itself is cruel. Under current law, however, tethering is not illegal and welfare professionals can only intervene to help a tethered horse if the horse is actually suffering in some way. Click here to read more. The British Horse Society have produced a helpful leaflet in relation to tethering, please click here to view a copy.
Rehoming. Many NEWC Members produce useful information for owners who cannot keep or look after their horse any longer. It is advisable to read lots of information and then make up your mind what is best for you and your animal. Do not bury your head in the sand and leave this until the last minute, as you may find it really difficult to cope with. Please try to contact only one organisation at a time to request more advice as this saves them time and resources. Click here to read more.
Over breeding. Tackling the issue of the over-production of horses and ponies in the UK is not a straightforward task. There is a huge range of people that need to be educated on the implications of overproduction, and made aware of the duties concerned with responsible breeding.Click here to read more.
NEWC Code of Practice. This Code of Practice aims to ensure that high standards of husbandry are maintained by all NEWC members holding horses, ponies, donkeys, hinnies and mules. Click here to read more.
The correct environment – issues – barbed wire. This probably is the most dangerous fence for keeping horses. It’s the cheapest, but it makes for some very ragged wounds. Most veterinarians advise against barbed wire, having sutured up many barbed wire cuts in the past. These lacerations can result in loss of soundness, chronic infections, fractures and much aftercare.
Body condition score, weighing, obesity. Body condition scoring is a scale designed to make it possible to be objective in evaluating the body condition of an equine. The Equine Industry Welfare Guidelines Compendium contains body condition score charts for both horses and donkeys. Click here to read more.
Retirement. As with all other aspects of caring for a horse, retirement needs will depend very much on the individuals temperament and circumstances. Retirement can be necessary for a number of reasons including disease, injury or old age.
Euthanasia. If you are unable to find a home for your horse, then you may have to face the fact that it may be in the animal’s best interest to put it down. This is a difficult decision and many NEWC members offer advice and support. Click here to read more.
Compendium. This third edition reflects the significant changes in animal welfare legislation as well as improved scientific knowledge of welfare issues. Click here to read more.