Window Of Opportunity For Better Welfare For Equines In Scotland

World Horse Welfare launched its latest campaign today in Scotland and is encouraging people in the country to contact their recently elected Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and call on them to pledge to protect and improve equine welfare during the next five years.

Although significant advances in protecting equine welfare have already been made in Scotland, the charity’s #ActNow4Horses campaign is encouraging the new Scottish Parliament, elected in May this year, to build on these successes and position Scotland as a leader in equine welfare.

World Horse Welfare is encouraging MSPs to commit to actively supporting a number of proposed laws, and animal lovers across Scotland are encouraged to contact their local MSPs by email or letter and request that they pledge to #ActNow4Horses.

Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said: “A key focus for this campaign is ensuring all equines are identified and traceable, because our other proposals to improve equine welfare all depend on accurately identifying equines at all stages of their lives.  
“The introduction of microchipping for all equines was a fantastic step forward,” he said “but the legislation did not go far enough. We believe a frictionless and digitised equine ID system is the only answer and is a fundamental requirement for all other equine welfare legislation to work and be enforceable, so we urge people to ask their MSPs for this.”

The charity argues that the current paper passport system is too open to fraud, with evidence showing that horses are exported unnecessarily long distances on fake passports to slaughter and in poor welfare conditions. This needs to be addressed urgently, but without closing the loopholes in the Equine ID system it is simply not enforceable.

The other proposals include improved welfare during transport; the introduction of a centralised database of all premises where equines are kept, including recording the type of activity (such as breeder or dealer) taking place and updating 50-yr old riding establishment legislation with consideration of developments in equine welfare.

World Horse Welfare also believes that serious consideration should be given to the regulation of commercial equine establishments and breeders, which should be held to higher standards than the average horse owner, as they are profiting commercially and holding themselves out to be equine experts. This could include the licensing of stallions.

Collectively, the changes the charity is calling for have the potential to significantly improve the welfare of equines in Scotland, if they are acted upon.

For explanatory details around each of these points, you can read the Manifesto HERE. You can also find out if your local and regional MSPs have already pledged HERE

World Horse Welfare highlighted some of the key issues for the welfare of horses, ponies, donkeys and their hybrids to prospective candidates ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 6 May this year. Now the charity needs the public’s support to ensure MSPs will act on these issues.

Since World Horse Welfare was formed in 1927, by working with horse owners, communities, organisations and governments it has influenced more than 50 pieces of legislation.

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