The Victorian Coalition Government is strengthening horse welfare standards by introducing a new code of practice to provide greater guidance on the standard of care expected of owners.
In Swan Hill today, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said horse owners, particularly new owners, would benefit from greater clarity in the new code.
“The previous code had not been updated since 1988 so these changes are well overdue,” Mr Walsh said.
“Owning a horse and learning to ride is an enjoyable experience for hundreds of thousands of young Victorians and the new code provides valuable recommendations for those young riders and their families.
“The code includes tips on care and husbandry, feed and water requirements, and fencing and stabling, which will assist new horse owners. It also provides recommendations on the agistment of horses, which is a necessity for many families who live in urban communities.”
Mr Walsh said the new code also included a section on body condition scoring, which would give owners an objective method of monitoring the suitability of a horse’s diet and general health.
“A greater level of guidance is also provided regarding horse dental care and ensuring appropriately experienced and capable practitioners provide dental procedures and treatment,” Mr Walsh said.
The updated code will be an invaluable tool for horse owners and has been developed following extensive consultation with the equine industry, the government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and the RSPCA.
Mr Walsh said the former government introduced regulations prohibiting use of electric prodders,
twisted bits and electric shock training collars and the new code would be amended to bring it into line with these rules.
“The new modern code also reflects changes in the sector by recognising the use of microchips as an acceptable means of horse identification,” Mr Walsh said.
“We want to make sure every horse owner is on the same page when it comes to welfare.”
Mr Walsh said the new code of practice for horse welfare would be formally tabled during the next sitting of Parliament in August 2012.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
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