‘Anyone who cares for horses’ asked for views on cost-of-living crisis

  • Equine welfare charities have launched a new survey to find out if the cost-of-living crisis has worsened for owners over the last 12 months.

    The survey is a follow-up to the 2023 National Equine Welfare Committee (NEWC) survey, which received 8,000 responses. Findings included that almost one in five participants said they are having to consider difficult decisions such as sale, sharing or euthanasia of their horses, owing to rising costs.

    The new survey, launched yesterday (16 January) has been developed by World Horse Welfare with support from NEWC partner organisations Redwings, Blue Cross, the British Horse Society, Bransby Horses, and Oak Tree Animals Charity

    “Anyone who cares for horses will be able to contribute to an understanding of how increased costs are affecting their ability to care for their animals, and this information will feed into the development of targeted support for those most in need and help prevent welfare issues arising,” said a spokesman for the project.

    Rebecca Boulert, World Horse Welfare education officer, said it is “imperative” for charities dealing with cases where individuals are unable to care for their horses because of financial reasons, to understand if the situation has worsened over the last 12 months.

    “We know from last year’s research that many owners were just about coping, and all possible cost savings had already been made, but that left little room for a further squeeze on purses,” she said.

    “This year’s survey aims to show whether things have stabilised, improved or deteriorated, allowing us to plan and act accordingly. We really hope as many horse owners as possible engage with the research and complete the survey, regardless of whether or not they were involved in last year’s project.”

    A tailored version of the survey targeting charities and other equestrian rescue centres will run concurrently to find out how the continuing cost-of-living crisis is affecting these organisations. Those involved will be contacted directly by NEWC to take part.

    The anonymised results from the surveys will be made public to “highlight any challenges and concerns that owners are facing”, and their potential impact on equine welfare. The results will also be shared with the UK Government, devolved administrations, and local authorities to help inform their understanding of the situation, as well as policy decisions, including “potential financial support for those most in need”.

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