Horse Welfare & the 5 Freedoms | Animated Series Episode 5
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Horse Welfare & the 5 Freedoms | Animated Series Episode 5

August 15, 2019


(Subs by JosieTheAwkward) Let’s start today’s video with a little quiz In your opinion, which of the following pictures illustrates poor horse welfare? Is it A or is it B? If you said both, you are correct. When assessing animal welfare both the physical and mental state of the animal must be considered. It is not enough for a horse to have a shiny coat and to be fed daily. It’s other needs must also be met and it should be protected from unnecessary fear and pain. A useful tool to analyse and improve animal welfare are The 5 Freedoms. Anyone looking for an animal should aspire to provide the following freedoms to the animal: 1. Freedom from hunger and thirst. This means providing fresh water and the right type and amount of food to keep the horse healthy. 2. Freedom from environmental stress This means protecting the animal from excessive cold and heat, providing shelter and somewhere that is suitable for the animal to rest. 3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease This means not causing unnecessary pain, preventing injury and correctly treating the animal. 4. Freedom to act out normal behaviours For horses this means space to move, to forage and access to other horses. 5. Freedom from fear and distress This means not to cause unnecessary amount of suffering from innapropriate management, horse training and tack The first two freedoms are what most people consider to be welfare, and in developed countries these are relatively well taken care of, even if many times inappropriately. So for example, many horses are fed too much hard feed and not enough hay, or are excessively blanketed. Most people will also consider the third freedom important, but some may be biased on what they consider acceptable pain or injury. We too often look at poor and uneducated people in third world countries as wild animal abusers when they beat their working animals with sticks, but have little or no issue with horses being hit with whips for entertainment purposes during equestrian events. Many people find it tragic when a skinny carriage horse in Egypt dies, but still financially support and glamorize dangerous equestrian events that frequently cause injuries and death. Horses should be allowed to move freely to forage and to have social interaction with other horses daily. Unfortunately many horses are kept locked in stables, deprived of social contact and as a consequence develop abnormal behaviors such as *__ , aggression and depression (*not sure what she says here sorry) Inappropriate horse management such as 24/7 stabling causes the animal distress. Training and riding using primarily negative reinforcement, positive punishment and using painful, uncomfortable riding equipment such as fixative tack, spurs and whips also cause fear and distress to horses. So what can we do to improve the welfare of our horses? We must educate ourselves about natural horse behavior, learning theory and learn to recognise signs of pain, fear and discomfort in horses. For more free videos on horse behavior and welfare subscribe to our youtube channel and visit our website for more free articles. Also check out our Patreon link in the description below if you would like to help us make more free educational resources. Have a beautiful day, and I will see you in the next video

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  1. I just wanted to say thank you because before I found your channel I was completely unaware of the cruelty of using a bit and keeping a horse in a stable all day. I ride occasionally and use to use a bit but I now know how a horse should be looked after. your channel helped me educate me and my friends on taking care of horses and making sure that the horse is happy and comfortable when training and riding 😄 thank you 😊

  2. When you have educated yourself on signs of pain, noticing them at horse events happens all to often. Someday I may visit a showjumping competition with 'uneducated' friends (so to say) and while they are enjoying the entertainment I am very disturbed by the horses distressed body language

  3. HI, I have added Spanish subtitles but am waiting for this to be agreed.  I am putting on a training course in Donkey welfare in Spain as I work for a donkey charity here and really want to use it next week as I love the way you have presented this!  Can you agree it?  Best wishes

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