New laws in France that aim to combat animal abuse have been welcomed by the equine sector and will include a “knowledge certificate” for horse owners.
It is one of three new laws that aim to improve equine welfare.
Private horse owners not already licenced under a governing body will be required to undertake education to demonstrate their knowledge about equine management.
A decree will define the content and the methods of issuing the certificate, which will be required by all private horse owners within a year.
Such a licencing system was introduced in 2019 by the French Equestrian Federation (FFE), requiring its members to show they had the knowledge and ability to protect the welfare of their horses.
Since the establishment of this initiative, FFE President Serge Lecomte had argued for a legal framework to be established for non-professional holders.
The new law was published in the Official Journal of the French Republic on December 1, 2021.
• It will also be compulsory to register in identification documents that a horse has undergone a neurectomy. Neurectomy involves cutting a nerve or rendering it insensitive to treat horses with chronic, or severe, foot conditions.
In France, it is considered as a treatment, but it is prohibited in competition and racing.
• Non-payment of the lease or boarding fees where the facility owner is left to care for the horse, is to now be considered a form of abandonment. After a formal notice to the owner and a period of three months, the facility owner can apply to the judicial court, which has the power to authorise the auction of the horse.