Leading equine vets question if rethink is needed for horse welfare

Leading vets and horse welfare organisations are coming together to debate the welfare of the UK’s one million horses at the annual Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Discussion Forum at One Great George Street, London, on 5 June 2017.

The session, “Are vets failing our horses?”, will explore the current relationship between vets and horses, looking at where the boundary lies between treatment and prolonging life, particularly in older horses. The three-strong veterinary panel will also debate the case of performance enhancement and the impact this can have on horse welfare.

Roly Owers, CEO of World Horse Welfare, who will introduce the session, said:

“There are around one million horses in the UK, however we believe many don't receive appropriate veterinary care.  I think this discussion is important because, as a profession, vets haven’t always been the best at openly debating these type of issues, however it’s becoming ever more important to do so, not least with the evolution of social media. Vets don’t ‘own’ animal welfare, but play a fundamental role in helping to achieve and maintain it."

‘Are vets failing our horses?’ will be chaired by AWF Trustee Ben Mayes and speakers for the session include:

The AWF Discussion Forum attracts delegates from a wide range of fields, offering the opportunity to discuss and share knowledge on challenging welfare issues. This year, the Discussion Forum will be holding three other sessions including whether modern life is incompatible with pet ownership, and introducing a new ‘On the Pulse’ session to debate a topical issue. The ‘On the Pulse’ topic will be confirmed closer to the event. There will also be the chance to hear how AWF’s work turns donations into action for animal welfare, with presentations from two of the projects funded by the charity.

Chris Laurence, AWF Chair of Trustees, said:

“We’re proud of AWF’s commitment to finding practical solutions to the welfare problems of all animals. Education and discussion are key to our work and we invite all those interested in improving animal welfare to join the debate at the Forum this year. With its emphasis on audience participation I’m sure that delegates will leave this unique event inspired to do what they can to bring about positive change.”

Gudrun Ravetz, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:

“Year on year, this is an exceptional conference that examines important issues for animal welfare. As outlined in our Animal welfare strategy, and agreed by BVA members, vets have a unique role to play in advocating animal welfare at all levels, so I would encourage as many people as possible to attend, hear from the experts and contribute to these influential discussions.”

Richard Killen, Director of Clinical Services, CVS Group Plc, who are sponsoring the session, said:

“We are delighted to be working in conjunction with the Animal Welfare Foundation and sponsoring the 2017 AWF Discussion Forum. Our vets, and the whole CVS team, are dedicated to animal welfare and have made this a key focus within the business.

“The AWF is a fantastic organisation and we look forward to working with them further in the future.”

A limited number of tickets for the AWF Discussion Forum are still available, which includes an exclusive drinks reception on the evening of 5 June offering delegates the opportunity to continue discussing the Forum’s issues. For more information or tickets, please visit https://www.bva-awf.org.uk/2017-discussion-forum-monday-june-5th-2017.