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New Equine Ethics And Wellbeing Commission Presents First Report To FEI Members

1 year ago

25th November, 2022 09h23


The Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission (EEWB) for the FEI delivered its first report to FEI delegates at the FEI General Assembly (GA) in Cape Town (12 November).

The independent EEWB was founded in June 2022 to address equine welfare issues of public and equestrian concern to ensure the welfare of the horse is paramount - and so strengthen horse sport’s ‘social licence’ to operate. The Commission, which meets monthly, immediately commissioned two substantial surveys to provide concrete data to help shape its proposals.

The surveys were conducted in English, Spanish and French; one designed for horse enthusiasts, the other for the general public. Almost 28,000 equestrians – including almost 8,000 FEI affiliates - responded to the former from 116 countries, and more than 14,000 people from 14 nations were surveyed in the latter.

Full details of the methodology and findings can be viewed at the EEWB Commission’s new website at Amongst the key findings were:

From these findings, the EEWB Commission has made six initial recommendations which range from tack and equipment issues (eg. double bridles no longer being mandatory in Grand Prix dressage) to education (an Education Focus Group is being established to review and adapt horsemanship teaching as necessary).

A list of further sources used by the EEWB in producing its tack and equipment recommendations is also available on Commission’s new website at .

Professor Dr Natalie Waran, Chair of the EEWB, told delegates: “As the Commission, we will be blunt. We will be direct and we will tell you the truth. But in the end we will be here with you. There is change that needs to happen and we are here to develop a strategy, provide objective advice, make recommendations and then see how these recommendations can be put into operation.

“I am pleased FEI members recognize that the data from the surveys is extremely valuable to identify concerns as well as suggested courses of action to mitigate them. While it’s clear that change is needed, I am confident that the FEI, the National Federations and equestrians around the world are committed to the journey. The work of the Commission will provide the structure, set the direction and help with navigating the actions that can be taken, but it will be the ongoing leadership of the FEI and work at local level that will help ensure that equine welfare is fully prioritized – and seen to be so – and so help equestrianism maintain its social licence.”

She then outlined the EEWB’s strategy to address social licence based on six main pillars: evidence, education, engagement, effective regulation, enforcement and empowerment. Commission member Professor Kathalijne Visser, who led the analysis of the survey results, presented the key findings and where there were differences in perspectives within equestrian audiences.

The Q&A session at the GA enabled open and positive discussion between delegates and EEWB members for the first time on a wide range of topics. The EEWB’s strategic roadmap will now be further developed and consulted on at the FEI Sports Forum in April 2023.

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