The National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) has launched a survey to find out how cost-of-living pressures are currently impacting horse keepers in the UK.
Anyone who cares for horses can contribute. Anonymised information from the survey will be made public and shared with the UK government, devolved governments, and local authorities to highlight any problems horse keepers are facing and to help inform horse welfare policies.
A tailored version of the survey has also been created to find out more about the impact the cost-of-living crisis has had on charities and rescue centres. The organisations will be contacted directly about taking part.
NEWC conducted a similar survey last year, which received more than 8,000 responses. The results revealed that one in five horse owners were facing difficult decisions, including have to sell their horse, because of rising costs. It also found that almost 50 per cent had cut what they spent in other areas of their life to help pay for their horses’ care.
The survey is being run with support from World Horse Welfare, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, The British Horse Society, Bransby Horses, Blue Cross and Oak Tree Animals’ Charity.
Rebecca Boulert, education officer at World Horse Welfare, said: “For those of us at the coalface of dealing with cases where individuals are unable to care for their horses because they cannot meet their needs financially, it is imperative for us to understand if the situation has worsened for horse owners and keepers over the past 12 months.
“We know from last year’s research that many owners were just about coping, and all possible cost savings had already been made, but that left little room for a further squeeze on purses. This year’s follow-on survey aims to show whether things have stabilised, improved or deteriorated, allowing us to plan and act accordingly.
“We really hope as many horse owners as possible engage with the research and complete the survey, regardless of whether or not they were involved in last year’s project.”
The survey is open until 16 February 2024 and can be completed online.
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