Experts Meet to Discuss Horse Welfare

Sue Burton, Founder of Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary, was delighted to learn of the first European Commission equine experts meeting last week and hopes it will help address the worsening welfare issue in this country. With 7,000+ horses at risk in the UK, Sue believes the welfare organisations already cannot cope and, when this year’s mares foal, the problem will quickly escalate.


The meeting held on 7 May 2014 in Brussels, gathered experts from across Europe to explore the current welfare situation of equines across Europe, the role of regulation and to commence a European research project on equine welfare by British based charity World Horse Welfare and Eurogroup for Animals.

Critically there is no specific EU legislation in place to safeguard the welfare of horses and donkeys, despite the contribution made by the equine industry to Europe’s economies, and therefore any initiatives that will help to improve welfare for horses will be welcomed.
Sue Burton echoes Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals, thoughts: “Equines are unique animals and need unique protection.” Sue also said, “At this time of such huge welfare crisis in the country it is important that issues are discussed and we welcome the initiatives proposed by the meeting.”

Such initiatives include improved identification and registration, better education on keeping and training, a ban on long distance transport to slaughter, the need for humane slaughtering and greater focus on effective law and enforcement. Concerning the fourth point, Sue was quick to point out that she vehemently disagrees with any proposal to allow horsemeat to enter the human food chain due to “fears over unscrupulous breeding and the risk of veterinary medicines to humans.” Sue added, “Enforcement has to be a priority as we are already aware that local authorities do not enforce the existing microchipping and passport legislation.”

For further information, contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.

You can learn more about the meeting and watch the video here.

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