The BHS Scotland Welfare Committee consists of a regional network of representatives able to provide advice and practical assistance, and respond at a moment's notice to a local welfare concern. We are also actively involved in all aspects of horse care and seek to influence the Scottish Parliament on welfare matters.
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The Horses Prayer neatly summarises why we do what we do. Have a read and let us know what you think.
Welfare in Scotland
Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006
This Act places a duty of care on pet owners and others responsible for animals (including horses, ponies and donkeys) to ensure that the welfare needs of their animals are met. It also allows the Scottish Parliament to make further regulations to regulate other animal-related activities including, for example, the running of livery yards. You can read the full paper here.
The duty of care is based on the "Five Freedoms":
* Freedom from hunger and thirst
* Freedom from discomfort
* Freedom from pain, injury and disease
* Freedom to express normal behaviour
* Freedom from fear and distress
The Scottish Government Code of Practice for the Welfare of Equidae gives advice on how to provide your horse or pony with care that ensures it has the five freedoms. The 75 point document is a practical guide for owners and keepers responsible for equines in Scotland and sets out the underpinning principles of horse care.
With Scotland enjoying some proper summer weather for the first time in four years, The British Horse Society has issued a warning to horse owners to avoid the dangers of over-rugging.
On days when the temperature in sheltered areas is around 20 centigrade, it is still possible to spot horses and ponies in Scotland sporting rugs – not just the very useful and necessary lightweight protective fly rugs – but rain sheets and middle weight rugs as well.
Borders vet Ben Sturgeon pointed out just how distressing over heating is to equines: “We are all aware of the phrase ‘dogs die in hot cars’, but what about horses in rugs? While deaths are rare, over-rugging horses can result in the development of ‘heat stress’ which if left unchecked, or made worse through exercise, can result in more critical ‘heat exhaustion’ and ultimately ‘heat stroke’.
“Horses have a high metabolic capacity combined with a small relative surface area for the dissipation of heat (Bergmann’s Rule) and sweating is the primary means for a horse to regulate its body temperature during heat. This cooling mechanism is very effective under normal conditions and modulated by ambient temperature and relative humidity. But importantly, this is also influenced by factors such as rugging (as well as obesity, hair coat, poor shade or ventilation, transport stress, high humidity and so).
“Sweating cools only by evaporation and rugging significantly impedes this. Worse, the sweat will remain on the skin and the rug creating a ‘sauna like’ atmosphere. With time, the horse will be dehydrated, suffer from loss of appetite, become depressed, and occasionally colicy in the first stage of heat stress. Without treatment (hosing and scraping of cool water, shade, water and electrolyte replacement) or with exercise/transport and so on, stage two or heat exhaustion will develop, with hyperthermia, marked dehydration, panting and a weak and irregular pulse. Again, left untreated, stage three or heat stroke can develop, with disorientation and stumbling ultimately resulting in collapse.”
While the temperatures in this country do not regularly predispose to the worst case scenarios, it is important to be aware of the potential pitfalls and methods of avoidance.”
Winter First Aid and Horse Care
Are we heading for another Winter like this? Frozen for weeks on end.....
Do not fear! BHS Scotland and Tay Valley Vets, Perth have put together the following advice to help you prepare for the winter weeks ahead. Click the following link for more information on what should be in your first aid box, when to worm and the importance of water! Winter First Aid and Horse Care
Passport plans on hold in England & Wales
Plans to move to a single Passport Issuing Authority in England & Wales have been put on hold. The current NED contract is to be extended by up to 18 months to allow alternative plans to be explored to improve the system. More information will be available shortly from DEFRA.
Horse Owners Urged to Register with Animal Health’s Disease Alert Service
Animal Health, the government agency tasked with minimising the risk and impact of notifiable animal diseases in Great Britain, is reminding horse owners to keep track of outbreaks of exotic equine diseases by registering with its Disease Alert Subscription Service.
By signing up, subscribers to the free service can receive information about diseases such as Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) and West Nile Virus via their choice of text, fax, voicemail or email. By getting the correct information as early as possible it will help minimise the risk of these diseases.
Horse owners can subscribe to Animal Health’s disease alert service by visiting www.defra.gov.uk/animalhealth/alerts/subscribe.htm