Front cover of the Report
On 15th December 2022, Eurogroup for Animals, World Horse Welfare, and The Donkey Sanctuary published a report entitled Working Equids in the European Union. It describes how working equids can be assets for:
- Agriculture and land management
- Urban management
- Leisure and tourism
The report notes, however, that a number of welfare issues have been identified for working equids, both within the EU and globally, including injury and poor physical health, unsuitable provision of resources (food, water, housing etc), working hours, use of harmful practices and inappropriate handling methods. It also finds that there may be gaps and grey areas in terms of the applicability of EU legislation to working equids.
The following recommendations are made in the report:
- Include animal welfare criteria if working equids are used in activities related to addressing climate change, protecting natural resources and preserving biodiversity through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and in the CAP Plans.
- Include animal welfare criteria if working equids are used in activities related to implementation of the EU Forest Strategy and fostering sustainable forestry through the CAP.
- Recognise the role of working equids in greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy, more social and inclusive Europe, as part of current and upcoming EU Cohesion Policy
- Recognise the role of working equids in fostering the sustainable and integrated development of all types of territories.
- Include animal welfare criteria if working equids are used in activities directly or indirectly funded by European Union institutions.
- Include animal welfare criteria if working equids are used in tourist activities, including development of guidance for businesses and licencing authorities and, where applicable, while promoting EU tourism through political frameworks.
- Ensure the inclusion of working equid welfare within implementation of the European Green Deal, including the EU Forest Strategy, forest-based economy and ecotourism, and Environment action programme to 2030, in particular when protecting, preserving and restoring biodiversity, and enhancing natural capital.
- Enact provisions detailing minimum requirements within the revised animal welfare legislation, especially the Kept Animals Regulation, to ensure the welfare of working equids is protected by the legislation.
Date of Publication: 15th December 2022