World Horse Welfare is surveying the British public to find out how much they really know about horse welfare.

The charity’s Stamp Out Suffering campaign, launched earlier this month, aims to help prevent cruelty and neglect by understanding a little more about how much people know about welfare issues.

Everyone is invited to take part in the survey — which can be filled in online or on paper — before the end of June. The results will be announced at the charity’s annual conference in November.

“We think this is the first survey of its kind and we are really keen that as many people as possible take part, so it can really make a difference,” said charity spokesman Hannah Rowley.

People are being asked to look at a series of 13 photographs of horses and rate them from one (no threat) to five (severe threat) as to whether they appear to show a danger to the animals’ welfare.

Responses are being sought from three sectors of the public: people who do not own horses, horse owners, and equine professionals such as vets and lecturers. The charity aims to reach around 2,000 people, using regional and national media as well as social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook.

Ms Rowley added: “When we have all the information back we will compare what the public thinks is a problem with what our field officers see on a daily basis. Together that will be helpful in forming educational strategies so they can have a real impact.”

There are more than 1.35million horses currently in Britain and World Horse Welfare investigates nearly 2,000 horse welfare concerns every year, a significant proportion of which are serious cases of neglect or abuse.

  • To take part, visit www.worldhorsewelfare.org/sos or call 01953 497267.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (16 April, ’09)