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Equine Welfare Assessment: Exploration of British Stakeholder Attitudes Using Focus-Group Discussions

By Susan V. Horseman, Jo Hockenhull, Henry Buller, Siobhan Mullan, Alistair R. S. Barr, Helen R. Whay

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The equine industry in Great Britain has not been subject to the same pressures as the farming industry to engage with welfare assessment, but this may change as concern about equine welfare increases. Stakeholder attitudes toward welfare assessment may impact the implementation of welfare assessment practices. Focus-group discussions regarding welfare assessment were conducted with 6 equine stakeholder groups: leisure horse owners (caregivers; n = 4), grooms (n = 5), veterinary surgeons (n = 3), welfare scientists (n = 4), welfare charity workers (n = 5), and professional riders (n = 4). Three themes emerged from the discussions: (a) Participants predominantly interpreted welfare assessment as a means of identifying and correcting poor welfare in an immediate way; (b) participants believed that horse welfare varied over time; and (c) attributes of the assessor were viewed as an important consideration for equine welfare assessment. The views of equine industry members give insight into the value welfare assessments may have to the industry and how equine welfare assessment approaches can achieve credibility within the industry and increase the positive impact of welfare assessments on equine welfare.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 176-191
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2017.1283226
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Tags
  1. Attitudes
  2. Horses