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Abattoir’s view on horse breeding to be aired

Horses bound for slaughter.

A horse bound for slaughter. © World Horse Welfare

The owner of Britain’s largest abattoir will be debating the issue of horse overbreeding with equine charity leaders at the country’s National Equine Forum next month.

“Do you need to breed?” is the topic of the forum, on Thursday, March 6 at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. National Equine Forum president The Princess Royal will be attending the event once again this year.

The abandonment and neglect of horses is reaching crisis point in the UK and equine charities are being inundated with serious welfare cases because thousands more are being bred than there are good homes. Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare will take a frank look the reasons for breeding horses. Nic de Brauwere, Chairman of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) and Head of Welfare, Education and Rehabilitation at Redwings Horse Sanctuary will explore what lies in store for problem horses.  To close the session, Stephen Potter, of Potters Abattoir, will discuss the role of the horse meat industry in contributing to equine standards of welfare.

The National Equine Forum is renowned for its non-partisan approach to pertinent equestrian matters. Each year it captivates the UK’s equestrian industry with diverse and stimulating presentations and debates and presents an exclusive opportunity for mingling and networking during lunch and afternoon tea.

This year’s programme also includes a panel of speakers, from Government, equestrian sport and veterinary science, covering:

  • Legislation and the racing industry (Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority)
  • Defra’s perspective on the equestrian industry (The Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP)
  • The role of an equine database as an effective means of communication (Jan Rogers, Head of Equine Development at the British Equestrian Federation)
  • The challenges facing horses in the 21st century (Sönke Lauterbach, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the German Equestrian Federation)
  • The global growth of horse sport (Ingmar de Vos, Secretary General of the FEI)
  • The launch of the revolutionary eHoof in its English form (Dr Isabel Imboden of the University of Zurich)
  • Horse and rider movement, balance and straightness from vet, farrier, saddler and physiotherapist perspectives (Line Greve, vet at the Animal Health Trust, Haydn Price, farrier, Vicky Spalding, equine physiotherapist, Mark Fisher, saddler and Louise Broom, human physiotherapist)
  • The legacy from 2012 (Jennie Price, Chief Executive at Sport England)
  • The Sir Colin Spedding Award

Tickets are £100.

More information: teallen@warkscol.ac.uk.

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  1. Vicky Johnson says:

    What kind of ‘opinion’ would an abattoir have on horse breeding? Breed more so they can kill more and make more money? But then there is the issue of wholesomeness for food. If there is no lifetime medical history – they should NOT enter the food chain. Would anyone believe that an abattoir would kill non food horses and never find any of the non food horses in the food chain? There isn’t an over population of just horses that would be deemed wholesome as ‘food’. If they were wholesome as ‘food’ – why didn’t the owners take them to the abattoir for cash? People need a humane alternative to end their horses life and most people do not believe an abattoir is a humane alternative – for good reason. They are in the killing business – they don’t care about the horses no matter how they want to portray their killing. Perhaps once a month, have a vet at any abottoir and for a nominal fee, have the vet humanely euthanize by lethal injection – where disposal can be easier. There will still be those that don’t want to ‘kill’ their horse and believe they can survive at large but most horse owners want to be responsible – they typically ‘like’ their horses. It would be absurd to believe that abattoir that wants to kill for food is the answer. They aren’t all safe for people to eat! It would also be absurd to believe that horses are neglected because less have been slaughtered when slaughter is still available and horsemeat is still imported. It is past time to stop believing that slaughter is any form of population control. It is in fact, quite the opposite. Large scale breeders churn out many foals without any regard for the culls. If they can’t sell them for alot of money, they dump them in the slaughter system. If they actually have to humanely euthanize what they produce – instead of being rewarded with cash – they may learn to be more selective and learn how to market what they produce.

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