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Initial outcomes of a harmonized approach to collect welfare data in sport and leisure horses

  • E. Dalla Costa (a1), F. Dai (a1), D. Lebelt (a2), P. Scholz (a2), S. Barbieri (a1), E. Canali (a1) and M. Minero (a1)...

Abstract

A truthful snapshot of horse welfare conditions is a prerequisite for predicting the impact of any actions intended to improve the quality of life of horses. This can be achieved when welfare information, gathered by different assessors in diverse geographical areas, is valid, comparable and collected in a harmonized way. This paper aims to present the first outcomes of the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) approach: the results of on-farm assessment and a reliable and harmonized data collection system. A total of 355 sport and leisure horses, stabled in 40 facilities in Italy and in Germany, were evaluated by three trained assessors using the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for horses. The AWINHorse app was used to collect, store and send data to a common server. Identified welfare issues were obesity, unsatisfactory box dimensions, long periods of confinement and lack of social interaction. The digitalized data collection was feasible in an on-farm environment, and our results suggest that this approach could prove useful in identifying the most relevant welfare issues of horses in Europe or worldwide.

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