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Examining Canadian Equine Industry Participants' Perceptions of Horses and Their Welfare

By Cordelie DuBois, Lindsay Nakonechny, Emilie Derisoud, Katrina Merkies

Category Journal Articles

The diversity of the Canadian equine industry makes determining baseline attitudes and beliefs a challenge. Adult members of the Canadian equine industry (n = 901) participated in an online survey to report demographic information and views on the role of horses and their ability to experience affective states. Questions regarding the welfare state of all horses in the industry, potential ways to address welfare issues, and eight short scenarios were presented. Qualitative analysis, descriptive statistics, and a Chi-squared test for independence examined survey results and potential relationships. Participants strongly believed horses were capable of feeling positive and negative emotions, particularly pain and fear, but rarely were these beliefs reflected in their answers regarding aspects of equine welfare, which may be due to the large bias in these beliefs. Lack of knowledge and financial difficulties were noted as the biggest threats to equine welfare. Overall, there was widespread agreement regarding the presence of welfare issues within the equine industry, but opinions were more divided regarding how to best address them and which horses were most at risk. Understanding these perceptions may be useful to direct educational programs and industry-wide initiatives to address equine welfare through human behaviour change.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2018
Publication Title Animals
Volume 88
Issue 11
Pages 15
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani8110201
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  3. Canada
  4. Horses
  5. Human behavior
  6. Mammals
  7. open access
  1. open access