#FutureHorse survey to identify what works for welfare in horse industries

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A new University of Melbourne survey of horse welfare practices in racing, riding, sport and tourism will help to improve welfare for horses through policy and on-ground practices 

The survey is now open online and is being conducted as part of the #FutureHorse project, which is investigating the attitudes and experiences of horse activity participants about welfare practices in horse racing, riding, sports, and tourism. 

This initial survey seeks to understand what practices decision-makers believe are working well for welfare in the industry. It is open to adults in Australia and the United Kingdom who have an interest in the welfare of horses, donkeys or mules; contribute to horse welfare decision-making as an individual, or as a committee or team member; or are currently involved with the horse racing, riding, sport or tourism sectors, with three or more years of experience. 

Decision-makers include stewards, judges, officials, managers, committee members, paid administrators, veterinarians, senior riders/drivers contributing to event organisation, and horse welfare officers who may or may not be active riders, drivers or handlers. 

They survey takes 15–20 minutes to complete and asks participants to identify what welfare practices, such as handling or health checks, are done well at their workplace.

“The results of this survey will identify what practices are working well, which informs the next stage of the project where we work with the horse sector to identify practices that could be done better,” said Julie Fiedler, 

“That way, the study results will be underpinned by evidence-based information and, importantly, be socially robust and grow public confidence in the importance of horse welfare within the industry.” 

#FutureHorse project leader Professor Josh Slater added: “This project will generate outcomes that will help the industry, including welfare statements that will be free to access and can be adapted and used by organisations.”

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