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An epidemiological analysis of equine welfare data from regulatory inspections by the official competent authorities

Hitchens, Peta and Hultgren, Jan and Frössling, Jenny and Emanuelson, Ulf and Keeling, Linda (2017). An epidemiological analysis of equine welfare data from regulatory inspections by the official competent authorities. Animal. 11, 1237-1248
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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1751731116002512

Abstract

Determining welfare status in a population is the first step in efforts to improve welfare. The primary objective of this study was to explore a new epidemiological approach for analysis of data from official competent authorities that pertain to compliance with animal welfare legislation. We reviewed data already routinely collected as part of Swedish official animal welfare inspections for 2010-13, using a checklist containing 45 checkpoints (CPs). These covered animal-, resource- and management-based measures of equine welfare. The animal-based CPs were measures that directly related to the animal and included social contact, body condition, hoof condition and cleanliness. Non-compliance with one or more of the animal-based CPs was used as a binary outcome of poor equine welfare; 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using the exact binomial distribution. Associations were determined using multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for clustering on premises. Resource- and management-based CPs (model inputs) were reduced by principal component analysis. Other input factors included premises characteristics (e.g. size, location) and inspection characteristics (e.g. type of inspection). There were 30 053 premises with horses from 21 counties registered by the Swedish Board of Agriculture. In total 13 321 inspections of premises were conducted at 28.4% (n = 8532) of all registered premises. For random inspections, the premises-prevalence of poor equine welfare was 9.5% (95% CI 7.5, 11.9). Factors associated with poor equine welfare were non-compliance with requirements for supervision, care or feeding of horses, facility design, personnel, stable hygiene, pasture and exercise area maintenance, as well as the owner not being notified of the inspection, a previous complaint or deficiency, spring compared with autumn, and not operating as a professional equine business. Horses at premises compliant with stabling and shelter requirements had significantly better welfare if they also complied with documentation requirements. We present a novel approach for analysis of equine welfare data from regulatory inspections by the official competent authorities, and propose on-going analyses and benchmarking of trends in animal-based measures over time. We also suggest how such a database could be further improved to facilitate future epidemiological analyses of risk factors associated with poor equine welfare. The study has implications for other competent authorities and researchers collaborating in the area of animal welfare epidemiology.

Authors/Creators:Hitchens, Peta and Hultgren, Jan and Frössling, Jenny and Emanuelson, Ulf and Keeling, Linda
Title:An epidemiological analysis of equine welfare data from regulatory inspections by the official competent authorities
Series/Journal:Animal (1751-732X)
Year of publishing :2017
Volume:11
Page range:1237-1248
Number of Pages:12
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1751-732X
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Accepted version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Behavioural Sciences Biology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Agrovoc terms:horses, animal welfare, legislation
Keywords:horses, legislation, animal-based measures, welfare indicators, risk assessment
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-4497
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-4497
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1017/S1751731116002512
Web of Science (WoS)000403799400018
ID Code:14722
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:21 Nov 2017 10:39
Metadata Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 10:39

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