Is it time the FEI created an ethics committee?

That is the question posed by Wayne Channon, the British grand prix rider who is secretary-general of the International Dressage Riders Club (IDRC).

The FEI’s veterinary committee had a welfare sub-group until 2008. Among other activities, it drafted the FEI code of conduct.

But early in the first presidential term of Princess Haya, it was disbanded on the grounds that each discipline’s welfare remit was best handled by the specialist technical committees.

Wayne first floated the idea at the FEI Sports Forum in April 2015 and revealed his initial thoughts to H&H.

He revived the topic the same week that many dressage riders signed the endurance petition on Change.org.

In his IDRC blog, Wayne said such a committee would provide a practical way to uphold welfare, put equestrian sport on an ethical high ground, and then demonstrate this to the world.

“Any sport involving animals needs to be above reproach; the animal does not decide to compete,” he wrote.

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“We need to set a high bar for what we deem to be acceptable standards for the welfare of the horse.

“The internet is our friend and our enemy. Once the suggestion is made that there is a problem, it is almost impossible to correct that impression.

“The FEI needs to be able to take the initiative back. It needs to be setting the agenda, not reacting to the latest problem.”

Ref: H&H 18/02/2016