Measures to improve the welfare of millions of horses and donkeys across the EU have been approved by the European Parliament. The proposals on ‘Responsible Equine Ownership’ from Julie Girling, British MEP, were passed by a large majority in the European Parliament and cover animals used in a broad range of activities, from farming to tourism.
The European Horse Network (EHN) supported Julie Girling in her research and formulating the proposal. FEIF is one of the members of EHN.
The equid sports and leisure market in Europe is the largest in the world. The equid sector also provides opportunities for entrepreneurs across Europe, and for those in rural areas in particular. Likewise, equidae are widely used in therapy and rehabilitation, and provide further economic opportunities and societal benefits in doing so. According to Fédération Equestre Internationale, the equid sector is worth over 100 billion per annum.
Whilst responsible ownership and care should always be expected as a minimum, many of the health and welfare problems faced by Europe’s equids today show that it is too often left by the wayside. However, the initiatives suggested would increase awareness, information and incentives, and could help unlock the full economic potential of the equid sector in the EU, whilst better protecting the welfare of these unique animals we value so much as a society.