15 May 2023
Equine charities across the UK have welcomed the new published recommendations for securing the future of equestrian sports in terms of equine ethics and wellbeing, following the report publication by the Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission for the FEI.
The report, due to be discussed at the 2023 FEI Sports Forum being held mid-May, is designed to ensure that equine welfare is safeguarded through ethical, evidence-based policy and practices cover all aspects of a sporting horse’s life. They are grouped according to the underlying pillars essential for maintaining a social licence to operate: Be a Leader, Be Trusted, Be Transparent, Be Proactive and Be Open to Independent Evaluation.
These recommendations include the creation of a permanent internal FEI Equine Ethics and Wellbeing body to advocate specifically for the welfare interests of horses in sport; the implementation of additional checks at events by trained professionals and officials to ensure horses are always ‘Fit to Compete’ ; and the training and empowerment of event officials to ensure that equine priority is always paramount.
“Against a backdrop of increasing questions being raised from both the public and equestrians around the welfare of horses in sport, these recommendations are a hugely positive step forward. We applaud their scope and how they are informed by evidence and present a holistic vision that all equestrians can subscribe to and be involved in.
“I am looking forward to the discussion around these draft recommendations at the FEI Sports Forum this week. To secure a strong future, everyone involved in equestrian sport should take this opportunity to move forward and embrace these recommendations with open arms.”
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers
Aside from the sporting aspect, there are also points made in terms of general equestrian management and training, applicable to the management of even non-competition equines, through the commitment to promote only ethical and evidence-based equestrianism. Ensure ongoing development of an understanding of the importance of utilising ethical, evidence- based practices in horse training, management and performance. This shows a positive move at the higher levels of equestrianism for a direction towards the improvement of equine management in general, regardless of the use of the equines, as well as a commitment to improve the identification and traceability systems of equines.
You can read the full report and recommendations here: EEWB 24 Draft Recommendations.pdf (fei.org)
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