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Weight gain in horses a major concern for owners, survey finds
More than 50 per cent of horse owners said their biggest feed-related concern during lockdown was weight gain.

Researchers assess the impact of lockdown on horses' routines.

More than half of horse owners in the UK have expressed concern about their horses gaining weight during lockdown, according to new survey results.

Some 54 per cent of horse owners said their biggest feed-related concern during this time was weight gain, while 41 per cent were worried about laminitis.

The worrying findings come from an online survey conducted by feed manufacturer SPILLERS to find out more about the effects of lockdown on horses' routines.

It found that while 65 per cent of respondents had not changed their management routine during lockdown, 12 per cent said they were now turning their horses out 24/7. An additional nine per cent had introduced strip grazing or a grazing muzzle to manage grass intake.

Furthermore, it found that those who had been previously riding had now stopped and, in answering the question about feed-related concerns, 21 per cent of respondents were worried about fizzy or excitable behaviour.

In response to the findings, SPILLERS is drawing attention to its online library of resources and has produced additional tips for horse owners to minimise the risk of weight gain in their animals.

SPILLERS marketing and research development director Clare Barfoot said: “We organised the survey to see where and how people might need support and guidance for their horses during this very difficult time.

“Obesity and laminitis are serious issues, especially now that the grass is growing in abundance and, in particular, 24/7 turnout coupled with reduced exercise can significantly increase the risks. Now that the BEF has revised its advice and more people are likely to start riding again, excitable horses and fizzy behaviour may also become a bigger concern.

“We are now actively signposting owners towards our collection of online blogs, tips and advice to help owners minimise the risk of weight gain and reduce excitability in their horses.”

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Defra extends applications to Zoo Animals Fund

News Story 1
 Defra has extended the deadline for applications for the 100 Million Zoo Animals Fund until 26 February 2021.

Launched in June 2020, the fund provides financial support for zoos and aquariums that have experienced a drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to 730,000 are available, which can be used to pay for essential costs and maintenance, including veterinary care, medicines, animal feed and staffing.

More information about the fund and details of how to apply can be found here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk