(This media release is issued on behalf of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.)
New minimum standards and best practice guidelines for the management of domestic horses and donkeys have been developed in a new code of welfare.
The new code comes into effect on Thursday (28 January 2016) and includes standards for equine management, food and water requirements, handling, training and equipment, husbandry practices and equine health.
The code has been developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) and applies to horses, ponies and donkeys and their hybrids kept for any purpose including those kept as companions (pets), for breeding, sport, entertainment or as working animals. The code also applies to foals and any horse captured from the wild.
The chair of NAWAC, Dr John Hellström, said the code of welfare expands on the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 with minimum standards and recommended best practice guidelines designed to provide for animals’ overall physical health and behavioural needs.
"The code should be considered by all owners or persons in charge of horses and donkeys as essential reading as it clearly outlines expectations for the management of these animals to ensure their wellbeing", said Dr Hellström.
NAWAC is an independent committee formed to give advice about animal welfare to the Minister for Primary Industries. The code has been issued by the Minister for Primary Industries.
Find out more
Download the Horses and Donkeys Code of Welfare
The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
Consultation on the draft code (2013)