Symposium in Amsterdam

Horse welfare is of rapidly growing concern. FEEVA’s Equine Welfare Working Group (EW WG) has so far consisted of 6 core members, but to cover more areas within the European Equine Industry and acknowledging the different (and similar) challenges, the EW WG now also includes an Extended Network. The aim is to have one representative from each FEEVA- member state (there are still 4 member states missing).

The symposium held in Amsterdam on the 28th of January 2023 was the first meeting bringing together the Core and Extended Network, all vets with a special interest in equine welfare. The symposium was kindly sponsored by World Horse Welfare and Intervacc.

During the day a wide range of topics were presented by excellent speakers.
Our first speaker, Andrew Waller, Intervacc talked about prevention of strangles followed by Mette Uldahl discussing the use of the intrinsic value in making decisions about welfare. Mette also talked about welfare parameters in judgement of horses used in sport using oral lesions as an example.

Roly Owers, World Horse Welfare, gave an up-date on Social licens to operate and the responsibilities of the veterinary profession. Pia Haubro Andersen,DK, talked about assessing pain and the difficulties in distinguishing between pain and distress.

Assessing quality of life and how to use positive re-inforcement in horses to reduce stress in equine practice was presented in a very pedagogical way by Gemma Pearson, UK

The last speaker, Inga Wolframm, NL, explained why habits are difficult to change and how this and confirmation bias stands in our way to make those changes.

Finally, we all had discussions about future topics and strategies for the EW WG.