This paper explores the views of those in the Irish equine industry, organisations and government regarding necessary improvements to equine welfare in Ireland at unregulated gatherings and during the disposal process. Three qualitative research methods were employed, namely semistructured interviews, focus groups and a structured, facilitated workshop. Representatives from industry, welfare societies, socially disadvantaged groupings and government engaged with this process and shared their views regarding horse welfare and implementable solutions with merit to address welfare problems. A consensus was achieved that equine welfare in Ireland could be improved by the development of a comprehensive identification system, a Code of Practice for horse gatherings, a horse licensing scheme, ring-fenced funding to promote responsible, humane horse disposal and better means of raising awareness of the value of safeguarding horse welfare for the benefit of all parties.
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Supplementary material This paper is accompanied by supplementary material detailing information provided to participants in the semistructured interviews and workshop, and the data gathered from the interviews, workshop and focus groups. The supplementary material can be viewed on the Veterinary Record website at http://veterinaryrecord.bvapublications.com
Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed