We have been busy progressing several projects in addition to contributing to some more wide-reaching discussions. The 'Welfare Case Toolkit' will soon be launched, which combines all the documentation you need plus some helpful guidance on how to approach a welfare case in the field. Importantly it will offer some clarification on what to expect if you are asked to act as a witness for a prosecution case. Vets are often put in difficult situations relating to welfare cases and we hope that by explaining the process thoroughly there will be a simple and easy to access point of reference for our members. By shedding light on the legal obligations afforded to vets acting as either an "expert witness" or a "witness of fact", this toolkit may better equip those helping to bring a case to prosecution and allow them to feel confident in how they are involved and what is reasonably expected of them. We had much help from the RSPCA and Redwings and would like to thank them for their contributions.
The equine obesity survey was well received and results are being processed - a big thank you to all who participated. The information gathered will be used to steer a working group, which we hope will include behavioural change experts and will aim to tackle the issue of equine obesity with greater success than has been seen previously. By bringing the industry together as a united voice we hope to reduce the needless suffering related to obesity, which we as equine vets face on an almost daily basis. We would all like to see equine metabolic syndrome and obesity-related laminitis become a thing of the past, but clearly something needs to be done differently as the problem is growing despite existing attempts to tackle the problem. We've also put together a resource page on Obesity, take a look >>
The committee chair was recently asked to join the Federation of European Equine Veterinary Associations (FEEVA) Equine Welfare Group. BEVA have a good working relationship with FEEVA and have plans to collaborate closely on disseminating welfare related information to the combined memberships over the coming years. This group has been working on an End of Life Report, which aims to address the value of a horse's life from beginning to end and how to encourage responsible breeding and ownership. There is also some discussion underway on the use of horses in the production of pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin (also known as equine chorionic gonadotrophin) on farms in South America. The product is reportedly used by the pig industry but we are trying to find out more on the distribution and use worldwide. There are reports of extreme welfare breaches on the horse farms and some pharmaceutical companies allegedly turning a blind eye. FEEVA and BEVA are both considering the evidence which has been presented and will report back to members in due course.
We would like to remind members that the committee can be contacted at any time if you have any suggestions or queries over ethics and welfare related topics. Please email the firstname.lastname@example.org, with "FAO EWC".