Responsible Equine Ownership - March 2016

Why is responsible ownership and horse welfare important to Europe?


Europe’s equine sector generates more than €100 billion each year and supports almost a million jobs, making it the 2nd largest rural employer in some EU countries. Horses, being uniquely versatile, can move between different roles throughout their lives: from elite athlete to therapy animal, to draught or tourist animal to a source of food. The welfare of many of Europe’s horses is at an excellent level and for others it’s in need of improvement.1 The most commonly perceived problems are with the environments and ways in which equidae are kept.


The problems exist across all Member States. The keeping of equidae in unsuitable environments, ignorance of owners and concerns about neglect have been raised across Europe regarding equidae in any number of roles (sport, hobby, work, meat). Problems include:

  • Environments with a lack of space
  • Long periods of confinement without access to turnout, and environments which do not provide social interaction
  • A lack of knowledge of proper equine care among equid owners
  • Neglect (failing to meet basic needs such as the need for food and water)
  • Poor transportation conditions particularly with horses for meat
  • Difficult end of life conditions


To view the full Ownership update please click here

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