Awareness of the Equine Code of Practice
Wm.H.L (Bill) desBarres, Chair Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada
HWAC’s statement of purpose is the communication of accurate information related to the Canadian equine industry to horse, mule and donkey owners and the general public. More information can be found at www.horsewelfare.ca.
It is estimated that approximately a third of the Canadian horse population and industry emanates from Alberta. The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Horse Trade Summary ending the third quarter of 2019 indicates Canada exported in excess of $100M worth of equine and equine products (do the math Alberta). Is it possible that many of the horse owners’ custodians are performing a more astute management process with respect to awareness of the welfare and health standards of our equine?
HWAC has recently undertaken to provide awareness of the welfare and health standards as defined in the Code of Practice for the care and handling of Equines to all enthusiasts, custodians and owners (https://www.horsewelfare.ca/post/code-of-practice).
The need for Code education and awareness was identified in the results of the HWAC Survey of awareness, implementation and compliance to the Code of Practice in the Canadian equine industry project (Mar 2018) and the University of Guelph Putting an On-Farm Welfare Assessment Tool into practice in the Canadian Equine Industry – A Pilot Study (Apr 2018). Results of theses surveys show that less than 50% of the equine industry is aware of and /or referencing the equine Code of Practice.
HWAC is working with industry participants, specialists, and equine organizations across Canada on the development of this free online, self-paced educational system that will walk participants through the ten sections of the Code and encourage more horse enthusiasts to upgrade and/or participate in the most current information. This project is well under way with the first Code section available on the HWAC website. (https://www.horsewelfare.ca/equine-code-training).
All other livestock species support their respective Codes of Practice much more efficiently and effectively at ground level because of production contracts and other efficiencies. It is the belief of HWAC the equine Codes of Practice must be understood and supported by all equine enthusiasts or our rights and abilities to enjoy our equine friends and the related industry will be compromised.