Researchers Look to the Numbers to Improve Equine Welfare

Scientists looked at four years of data to try to predict facilities’ compliance with animal welfare legislation.
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Researchers Look to the Numbers to Improve Equine Welfare
Scientists looked at four years of data to try to predict facilities’ compliance with animal welfare legislation. | Photo: iStock
Can data be an effective predictor of equine neglect?

Peta Lee Hitchens, BAppSc(Equine), MVPHMgt, PhD, and colleagues from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences believe so. Especially when the data is collected routinely as part of official animal welfare inspections, she said.

Hitchens and colleagues reviewed data collected over a four-year period by the Swedish Board of Agriculture during routine inspections to determine facilities’ compliance with Swedish animal welfare legislation. The researchers found that poor hoof condition was the most common indicator of decreased equine welfare reported by animal welfare inspectors

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Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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