Conference to air Scotland’s horse welfare issues

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World Horse Welfare's Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre.
World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre. Manager Eileen Gillen said indiscriminate breeding resulted in huge numbers of horses being abandoned or left to fend for themselves. “It can also have a devastating effect on the horses’ conformation and their potential to be comfortable and free from pain.”

The issues facing horses in Scotland will be explored in depth at an annual welfare conference later this month in Aboyne, on the edge of the Highlands in Aberdeenshire.

The event on April 20 has been organised by the British Horse Society Scotland in association with World Horse Welfare and The Scottish Government. Leading experts and professionals from the equestrian community will come together at World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre to discuss and debate several topics, from the risks posed by exotic diseases to issues around identity fraud in the trade of low-value equines.

The day will be chaired by BHS Scotland Chairman and leading veterinarian, Professor Derek Knottenbelt OBE.

Speakers include World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers, who will provide an insight to Britain’s horse crisis – looking at issues of indiscriminate breeding and its impact on welfare charities which are increasingly being stretched to maximum stocking levels. Belwade Farm has taken in more than 35 horses in the last four months alone, which is more than half of its yearly stocking level and many as a result of indiscriminate breeding.

World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers with British MP George Eustice, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment.
World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers with British MP George Eustice, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment.

“This welfare conference is an important platform to raise and address the key challenges facing Scotland’s equine population,” Owers said.

“It’s definitely set to be an interesting and enlightening day so I’d urge anyone with an interest in equine welfare to get their tickets booked and I look forward to seeing many people there.”

Professor Natalie Waran, Jean Marchig Professor of Animal Welfare Education will discuss the issues of horses as athletes and how they compete in sport, whilst Dr Richard Newton from the Animal Health Trust will review the threat of exotic diseases and the importance of good biosecurity in preventing outbreaks.

Dr Georgina Crossman will outline the Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence (AESE) study into equine end of life and the role of vets in advising on euthanasia and Gemma Pearson of the Dick Vet Equine Hospital Edinburgh will discuss equine handling and behaviour.

Finally, a World Horse Welfare representative will give an update on issues of identity fraud in the trade of low value equines and Nick Ambrose of The Scottish Government will review the practical implications of the new equine ID regulations and central equine database.

Anyone is welcome to attend the conference and tickets are priced at £20 each if attendants are members of a charity and £50 for others.

Information and booking form

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