A standardised equine-based welfare assessment
Most equine welfare research focuses on horses used for leisure and sporting purposes in developed countries. However, these animals make up a relatively small proportion of the world’s estimated total equine population of approximately 113 million. More than 80% of the world’s equids (horses, donkeys and mules) live in low income countries where they are used as working animals, supporting approximately 600 million people’s day to day lives. Working equids are at risk of a range of welfare issues relating to the context in which they and their owners live; when investigating their welfare it is important to use a tool which is adapted for local conditions. Brooke, an international equine welfare Non-Governmental Organisation working in Africa, Asia and Latin America to improve the welfare of working equids has recently published a paper in PLoS One which describes their bespoke Standardised Equine-Based Welfare Assessment Tool (SEBWAT). The paper describes the development and application of the tool in detail and highlights practical lessons learned from SEBWAT’s application in more than 70,000 assessments across 11 countries over six years. It includes case study examples of its use for scoping, impact assessment and informing advice given to policy makers. It is hoped that learning gained from this experience can inform the work of others operating in similar contexts, and support efforts to improve the welfare of working equines in need.
The paper itself can be found as follows: Rebecca Sommerville, Ashleigh F. Brown, Melissa Upjohn 2018 A standardised equine-based welfare assessment tool used for six years in low and middle income countries PLOS ONE