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Equine welfare
Welfare implications of equine breeding

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ARE there welfare issues associated with the breeding of horses? This was the question discussed at an open forum held at the Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire recently.

The question was posed by Madeleine Campbell, a Wellcome Trust-funded research fellow at the Royal Veterinary College, who gave the keynote presentation at the event. Dr Campbell touched on a number of areas that might have welfare implications for horses, including the ‘shuttling’ of stallions between hemispheres for the different breeding seasons, as artificial insemination (AI) is not allowed for thoroughbred horses; mares and stallions not being able to display natural behaviour in ‘controlled’ breeding environments; and the impact of cloning on the welfare of the progeny. For all these issues, evidence was scant or absent, she said.

She said that, although the aim of the veterinary profession was to be proactive to improve the welfare of animals, it was crucial to identify what those welfare issues were. Anecdotally, she added, AI and embryo transfer appeared to be …

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