Want to Improve Horse Welfare? Change Human Habits

To make a sustainable difference to horse welfare, owners must apply the findings of research into human behavior change, one researcher says.
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Horse welfare
While people in the horse industry are often passionate about their horses and want to treat them well, there’s often a lack of knowledge about what horses really need, Busby said. | Photo: iStock

If you’re going to change horse welfare, first things first: change the humans. Getting people to change their views and habits is a necessary first step toward improving the lives of animals. But British researchers say it’s not an easy step.

“The root cause of most welfare issues for horses is human behavior,” said Debbie Busby, MSc, representing the British organization Human Behavior Change for Animals (HBCA) CIC. “To make a sustainable difference to horse welfare, horse owners must apply the findings of research into human behavior change.”

Busby presented her topic during the 2017 International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference, held Nov. 22-26 in Wagga Wagga, Australia

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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