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Horse Welfare

Scientists Warn About Risk of Cobalt

August 2015

An article by researchers from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, published in The Veterinary Journal explains the risks of misusing the banned and illegal blood doping substance cobalt chloride.  In the past months, the detection of cobalt chloride in racehorses competing in Australia and the United States has made mainstream media headlines, and led to the investigation and subsequent suspension of several trainers. 

A Model for Change

May 2015

Being a horse vet is risky business.  Official statistics released earlier this year by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) confirm the profession carries the highest risk of injury of any civilian occupation - higher than construction workers, the prison service and even the fire brigade.  This should not be surprising as vets routinely deal with horses that are sick or injured. They may be frightened, in pain or distress and require invasive, sometimes painful, treatments.

Science answers: Does whipping hurt horses?

April 2015

As part of the Catalyst investigation into horse whipping a forensic veterinary pathologist, Dr Lydia Tong, helped the ABC team get to the bottom of the question – ‘Is there any anatomical reason to believe that horses don’t feel pain like we do?’ Here’s her report on her findings. REPORT FROM DR LYDIA TONG MA VetMB Veterinary Pathologist, NSW Department of Primary Industries

A Smart Future for Saddlery

January 2015

Imagine buying a rug that predicts when your mare will foal, a saddlecloth that records and stores heart and respiration rate changes during your exercise sessions, or can tell you if your horse is stressed. What about a girth that beeps if it is too loose or a noseband that changes colour when it is done up too tight?

The Equine Pain Face

January 2015

Horses may not be able to say how much it hurts in words, but recent research is demonstrating their face tells all. 

Horse Rescue

October 2014

Eleisha Ifield rescued her horse, Phantom, from slaughter but it turned out that he rescued her. He was exactly what she needed to heal from a broken marriage and anorexia. Soul, a Paint yearling, fell down a twenty-meter cliff and was set to be shot by the owner until Bev Finnigan stepped in and hauled him up to safety. A year later, Bev spontaneously answered a plea from Kelsie Consadine, who was looking for a young horse to work with and it was Soul’s chance to pay it forward, this time rescuing Kelsie from debilitating mental illness.

Improving Welfare Through Education

May 2014

Throughout the world there are millions of working equines, most of whom are owned by families who themselves are living in poverty. From the Western world it is easy to pass judgement when we are faced with images of sad, emaciated, wounded working animals, and it is all too easy to place the blame on the animal’s owners. However, when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture you view these images in a new light. 

New welfare toolkit for event organisers

March 2014

The Australian Horse Industry Council has launched the Australian Horse Welfare and Wellbeing Toolkit to assist the work of horse welfare officers at events around Australia. This 40-page document aims to assist horse event organisers with ensuring the welfare of all participating horses at community events. Featuring volunteer job overviews, tips for preparing incident management plans, media management and mentoring of club members, this guide will help community volunteers plan and manage public events involving horses.

Echoes of Black Beauty

January 2013

  During the Victorian era many people had little empathy for their beasts of burden, but all that changed when ‘Black Beauty’ was published in 1877. This was the first book to be written specifically to encourage people to stop deliberate cruelty to horses. 

A Flash Flood With A Difference

January 2013

  As a horse person living through the disaster, while saddened by the tragic loss of people’s life, I couldn’t help thinking there must have also been many horses, pets and other stock caught up in this event. Animals that in most cases remain nameless and countless, some whose disappearance will only be known to their grieving owners. It is a horse owner’s worst nightmare to imagine harm of this scale coming to their beloved horses regardless of how much they are worth in monetary terms. Pets of all kinds are such an important part of the lives of those who love them.


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