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m-Equine : IS support for the horse industry

By Sonja Leskinen

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The horse industry is in many ways still operating the same way as it did in the beginning of the 20th century. At the same time the role of the horse has changed dramatically, from a beast of burden to a top athlete, a production animal or a beloved pet. A racehorse or an equestrian sport horse is trained and taken care of like any other athlete, but unlike its human counterpart, it might end up on our plate. According to European and many other countries’ laws, a horse is a production animal. The medical data of a horse should be known if it is to be slaughtered, to ensure that the meat is safe for human consumption. Today this vital medical information should be noted in the horse’s passport, but this paperbased system is not reliable. If a horse gets sold, depending on the country’s laws, the medical records might not be transferred to the new owner, the horse’s passport might get lost etc. Thus the system is not fool proof. It is not only the horse owners who have to struggle with paperwork; veterinarians as well as other officials often use much time on redundant paperwork. 
The main research question of this thesis is if IS could be used to help the different stakeholders within the horse industry? Veterinarians in particular who travel to stables to treat horses cannot always take with them their computers, since the somewhat unsanitary environment is not suitable for a sensitive technological device. Currently there is no common medical database developed for horses, although such a database with a support system could help with many problems. These include vaccination and disease control, food-safety, as well as export and import problems. 
The main stakeholders within the horse industry, including equine veterinarians and horse owners, were studied to find out their daily routines and needs for a possible support system. The research showed that there are different aspects within the horse industry where IS could be used to support the stakeholders daily routines. Thus a support system including web and mobile accessibility for the main stakeholders is under development. Since veterinarians will be the main users of this support system, it is very important to make sure that they find it useful and beneficial in their daily work. To ensure a desired result, the research and development of the system has been done iteratively with the stakeholders following the Action Design Research methodology.


Katie Carroll

Date 2014
Pages 251
Publisher Abo Akademi University
Department Department of Information Technologies
Language English
University Abo Akademi University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Horse industry
  3. Horses
  4. Information systems
  5. Mammals
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. support
  8. Working animals