Quick Links

Traceability and Transporting Alberta Horses

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   November 20, 2013 09:27

Livestock Traceability – Protecting an Industry

Livestock traceability is the process of tracking individual or groups of livestock and poultry throughout their lifetime. Tracking this information is important when responding to emergencies such as disease outbreaks, floods or fires because traceability systems help determine where livestock are, where they have been and what other livestock they have could have potentially come into contact with.

Movement recording is essential to an effective traceability system. With accurate movement records, industry and government are able to identify and contain disease-exposed animals more quickly, which reduces the risk of the disease spreading to other animals.

Complying with regulations for moving livestock is part of responsible animal management that helps protect the health of your animals as well as those of other Alberta and Canadian producers. Traceability in Alberta is authorized under Alberta’s Animal Health Act. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) works with industry and all levels of government to advance traceability in Alberta and Canada.

Transportation Regulations

In Alberta, horses must be transported in accordance with Alberta’s Livestock Identification and Commerce Act (LICA). Under LICA, the term “horses” is used to include members of the Equidae family such as horses, donkeys and their crosses. Depending on the purpose of the transportation, horses may require an Alberta Livestock Manifest, Livestock Permit or Special Permit. Alberta’s delegated authority, Livestock Identification Services Ltd. (LIS), is responsible for all transportation documentation under LICA.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s approved Premises Identification Numbers (PID)are to be recorded on Alberta Livestock Manifests, Livestock Permits and Special Permits to assist with trace backs in a disease outbreak. On Alberta Livestock Manifests, livestock owners/dealers are to record the PID Number of where the livestock are being transported from and the receiver is to record the PID Number of the end destination.
 

Livestock Traceability – Protecting an Industry

Livestock traceability is the process of tracking individual or groups of livestock and poultry throughout their lifetime. Tracking this information is important when responding to emergencies such as disease outbreaks, floods or fires because traceability systems help determine where livestock are, where they have been and what other livestock they have could have potentially come into contact with.

Movement recording is essential to an effective traceability system. With accurate movement records, industry and government are able to identify and contain disease-exposed animals more quickly, which reduces the risk of the disease spreading to other animals.

Complying with regulations for moving livestock is part of responsible animal management that helps protect the health of your animals as well as those of other Alberta and Canadian producers. Traceability in Alberta is authorized under Alberta’s Animal Health Act. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) works with industry and all levels of government to advance traceability in Alberta and Canada.

Transportation Regulations

In Alberta, horses must be transported in accordance with Alberta’s Livestock Identification and Commerce Act (LICA). Under LICA, the term “horses” is used to include members of the Equidae family such as horses, donkeys and their crosses. Depending on the purpose of the transportation, horses may require an Alberta Livestock Manifest, Livestock Permit or Special Permit. Alberta’s delegated authority, Livestock Identification Services Ltd. (LIS), is responsible for all transportation documentation under LICA.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s approved Premises Identification Numbers (PID)are to be recorded on Alberta Livestock Manifests, Livestock Permits and Special Permits to assist with trace backs in a disease outbreak. On Alberta Livestock Manifests, livestock owners/dealers are to record the PID Number of where the livestock are being transported from and the receiver is to record the PID Number of the end destination.
A copy of each Alberta Livestock Manifest must be kept by the owner, the transporter and the person receiving the horses for 10 years from the date the manifest is completed.

Alberta Livestock Manifest books are supplied by LIS and are available throughout the province from LIS Field Offices, livestock (auction) markets and ARD Field Offices.

Livestock Traceability – Protecting an Industry

Livestock traceability is the process of tracking individual or groups of livestock and poultry throughout their lifetime. Tracking this information is important when responding to emergencies such as disease outbreaks, floods or fires because traceability systems help determine where livestock are, where they have been and what other livestock they have could have potentially come into contact with.

Movement recording is essential to an effective traceability system. With accurate movement records, industry and government are able to identify and contain disease-exposed animals more quickly, which reduces the risk of the disease spreading to other animals.

Complying with regulations for moving livestock is part of responsible animal management that helps protect the health of your animals as well as those of other Alberta and Canadian producers. Traceability in Alberta is authorized under Alberta’s Animal Health Act. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) works with industry and all levels of government to advance traceability in Alberta and Canada.

Transportation Regulations

In Alberta, horses must be transported in accordance with Alberta’s Livestock Identification and Commerce Act (LICA). Under LICA, the term “horses” is used to include members of the Equidae family such as horses, donkeys and their crosses. Depending on the purpose of the transportation, horses may require an Alberta Livestock Manifest, Livestock Permit or Special Permit. Alberta’s delegated authority, Livestock Identification Services Ltd. (LIS), is responsible for all transportation documentation under LICA.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s approved Premises Identification Numbers (PID)are to be recorded on Alberta Livestock Manifests, Livestock Permits and Special Permits to assist with trace backs in a disease outbreak. On Alberta Livestock Manifests, livestock owners/dealers are to record the PID Number of where the livestock are being transported from and the receiver is to record the PID Number of the end destination.

Alberta Livestock Manifests

Alberta Livestock Manifests are used to document the movement of horses. An Alberta Livestock Manifest is required to transport or drive horses within Alberta if the horses are being transported to an inspection site or are being transported for sale or slaughter.

A copy of each Alberta Livestock Manifest must be kept by the owner, the transporter and the person receiving the horses for 10 years from the date the manifest is completed.

Alberta Livestock Manifest books are supplied by LIS and are available throughout the province from LIS Field Offices, livestock (auction) markets and ARD Field Offices.

Livestock Permits

Livestock Permits are issued by LIS Livestock Inspectors. All horses transported or driven from an inspection site (other than a feedlot or an uninspected country sale) to a destination in Alberta, or from an originating point in Alberta to a destination outside Alberta, must be accompanied by a Livestock Permit unless:

    the horses are being transported under a Special Permit (see next section for details) and are not being transported to an inspection site, or for sale or slaughter;
    the horses are accompanied by an Alberta Livestock Manifest and are being transported to an approved inspection site in Saskatchewan or British Columbia where they will be inspected upon arrival; or
    the requirement for a Livestock Permit has been waived by LIS in accordance with an exemption allowed under LICA. To learn about the exceptions under LICA, refer to the legislation at www.qp.alberta.ca.
Livestock Permits authorize a single movement of livestock from the location where the animal was inspected to the destination described on the Livestock Permit. A Livestock Permit expires seven days after the date it was issued or when the horses are delivered to their destination, whichever is earlier.

A copy of each Livestock Permit must be kept by the owner, transporter, the person receiving the horses and LIS for 10 years from the date the Livestock Permit is issued.


Special Permits

Special Permits are issued by LIS Livestock Inspectors and include the following:

    Annual Rodeo and Exhibition Permits
    Annual Horse Permits
    Lifetime Horse Permits

The Annual Rodeo and Exhibition Permits and the Annual Horse Permits are used to transport horses outside Alberta more than once in a calendar year. These permits expire on December 31 of the year in which they are issued.

A Lifetime Horse Permit allows an owner to transport a horse outside Alberta multiple times during its lifetime. Lifetime Horse Permits expire when there is a change of horse ownership or when the horse dies.

Special Permits cannot be used to transport horses to an inspection site, or for sale or slaughter.


Transporting Out-of-province Horses in Alberta

The Alberta Livestock Manifest and Livestock Permit requirements of LICA do not apply to persons who transport horses into or through Alberta from an originating point outside Alberta so long as:

    the originating jurisdiction requires the horses to be accompanied with documentation to be transported out of that jurisdiction; and
    the horses are accompanied with that documentation.

The exemption that allows horses to move into or through Alberta on out-of-province documentation expires when the horses stop in Alberta for a purpose other than rest or when they are required to be inspected in Alberta.

If out-of-province horses stop in Alberta for a purpose other than rest, the location where the horses stop should be considered the originating point when completing an Alberta Livestock Manifest or requesting a Livestock Permit.

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex14633

EquiMania! Proves Popular at Minnesota State Fair!

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   September 18, 2013 08:50


 Guelph, ON - August 22 - September 2, EquiMania! made an impact at its inaugural appearance at Minnesota State Fair!  Produced by Equine Guelph at the University of Guelph, EquiMania! is an interactive youth education program and exhibition designed to teach kids about horse health and safety. EquiMania! moved in at the Minnesota State Fair horse barn and that is where the replicated display will stay for the next five years to cater to a whole new audience in the U.S.
 
EquiMania! features several interactive components that teach anatomy and biology of horses with scale models and real bones. Equine Guelph is well known for its online educational pathways for horse enthusiasts starting with EquiMania! and ranging up to the Equine Science Certificate and accredited diploma program. Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, says, "We are thrilled to be partnering with Minnesota State Fair and extending educational opportunities in a way that makes learning fun. That's EquiMania!"
 
The Equine Guelph team greeted throngs of fair visitors 2nd largest fair in the United States visited by almost 1.8 million people and this is what they had to say:
 
"Very helpful!  Great information, I LOVED it.  I'm in college for Equine Science and this exhibit is AMAZING!"  - Michaela
 
"Wonderful!  Informative and so much fun!  My 6 year old says it's the best thing he saw at the fair." - Veronica
 
"Excellent display & teaching! This is the most fun I've had (and the most I've learned) in the horse barn in 34 consecutive years at attendance.  I'm a physician  - the comparative anatomy lesson was fascinating!"
 
Agriculture education manager of the Minnesota Fair, Michelle Butler declares, "EquiMania! was a fantastic addition to our fair as it aligned  with our fair's mission to educate and involve our guests by providing a showcase that is innovative, entertaining and fun.  The response to the exhibit was overwhelmingly positive!  We are thrilled to have partnered with Equine Guelph to bring EquiMania! to the Minnesota State Fair for the next several years."
EquiMania! will share their popular exhibit with more venues in the United States, teaching horse enthusiasts about safety and horse health in a fun interactive way thanks to this fabulous partnership.
 
Bring EquiMania! to your event: horses@uoguelph.ca
 
 

Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca.

 
Link to news story on Equine Guelph Site:
http://equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=386
 


The Problem with Unwanted Horses

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   September 13, 2013 13:23

By Mitzy Tait-Zeller and Bonnie Newton


The purpose of this article is to create meaningful dialogue and put forward workable solutions to the overpopulation, not to continue to put a band aid on the symptoms of unwanted horses.

Ask any horse owner how they feel about the issue of unwanted excess horses and you are sure to elicit a heated discussion swaying either pro or anti slaughter. It is the most controversial subject amongst horse owners and one that many avoid getting caught up in.


Horses are being neglected, abandoned, and thrown away at an alarming rate. The rescues are overflowing and calls go in to the S.P.C.A.’s far too often. A general lack of responsibility from horse owners overbreeding, contributes to the problem. According to the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition just over 82,000 horses went to slaughter in 2012, of which 67%, more than 54,500 were imported from the United States.


Since the United States successfully closed their horse slaughter plants in 2007 a multitude of articles were written on horse slaughter statistics prior to and up to that point. Almost every organization involved in closing the doors to slaughter felt that horse owners and breeders would do the right thing and monitor their own breeding programs to reduce the sheer number of horses that became unwanted. In short, no one was prepared to put forth regulations to control the number of horses bred in any given year or within the associations that breed them. They were afraid of upsetting horse owners. Clearly, five years later, the problem is not resolving itself.


Not much has changed in the horse industry in the United States since the last slaughter plant closed in 2007. The excess unwanted horses have been exported to Canada and Mexico in alarming numbers. Now, the organizations that are pro-slaughter want to reopen the slaughter plants in the United States with the USDA’s approval for funding and reissuing of permits. Why? Quite frankly, it’s a lucrative business. The pro-slaughter organizations want to cash in on the excess unwanted horses for the ridiculous prices they are selling for, as well as the fact that no one will ever hold them accountable for wrong-doing because officials and lawmakers are all lining their pockets with blood money. It is easy money for those without a conscience.


A few articles I read dated back to 2008 – 09 actually touched on the issue of unwanted horses at the root of the problem which is overbreeding of equines that are undesirable or untrained. Quite simply, the market is flooded. Breeders need to stop breeding entirely for a few years. Overbreeding has led to monetary and emotional devaluing of the equine species.


Due to the fact that horse slaughter is still taking place in Canada and Mexico, rescues and well-meaning, truly caring horse lovers are saving horses that are extreme hard luck cases (resulting from abuse or neglect) and only suitable for companion animals. This creates a more heart wrenching scenario because then perfectly healthy riding horses that are calm, quiet and used to human companionship have nowhere to go. Everyone is at their maximum capacity and stretched to their financial limits caring for the horses they already have. Few, if any equestrians looking for their next competition or project horse will go looking in a sale barn. So these horses are being sold to the kill buyers for a few dollars and inevitably end up being slaughtered. How sad is that?


The controversy between anti and pro slaughter does not honor the horse. Civilization was built on the bones of the horse and humanity owes the horse respect. Did you know that “Building Canada’s transcontinental railway took more than 12,000 workers, 5,000 horses and 300 dogsled teams”? Page 22, Fall ’13, What’s Cooking Kraft magazine. This is just one small example of what horses have done and contribute to our world. Not to mention the millions of horses that have walked with humanity and gone to war with man over the centuries.


In the most recent issue of Horse-Canada there was a box article bringing attention to the new Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines. The document was well thought out and written to address proper handling of horses. But … it’s only great, if EVERY horse owner in the country “reads it” and “follows the guidelines” to the best of their ability. So, what good does it do? Who is going to step up and make people accountable for their actions?  I’ve heard repeatedly that you can’t fix stupid. But I wonder if horse owners and breeders are just in a complete state of denial, are they misinformed, or suffer from a lack of education?


I have always been of the old adage that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. If that is the case then why are organizations spending so much time, money and effort trying to fix the symptoms (rescues and horse slaughter), instead of addressing the cause, overbreeding? What happens to the excess 28,000+ horses, just in Canada in any given year?  What about the US horses? Is there a way to control the problem of overbreeding and discarded horses?


Scrolling through hundreds of ‘horse for sale’ ads I am astounded at the utter lack of care that goes into these ads. If the seller truly cares about their horse and where it ends up, shouldn’t they at least make a concentrated effort to show the horse they are offering for sale in the best possible way? There are countless websites, articles and books that give pointers on how to sell your horse. When their horses don’t sell, where do the sellers take them? To the auction barn where kill buyers snap them up for peanuts because experienced equestrians don’t buy horses at auction sales. If this is how you sell your horse, you are not a horse lover nor do you care about whether your horse goes to slaughter.


I came across ads where breeders listed their horses as “can be registered”. As a small time breeder of a rare breed horse this small ad statement upset me. I breed one or two registered foals each year and register them before they are sold. In order to prevent non-registration of eligible foals, my breed association now sends out the registration forms with the dam and sire name and information present on the papers that you provided on your stallion report. What a great idea, kudos to my breed association! I feel that if the horse is born from registered stock and “can be registered”, that it should be mandatory for the breeder to register their stock before it’s sold. Isn’t that why you breed registered horses in the first place? Keep in mind that just because an animal is registered does not mean it is suitable breeding stock. I think this is a common misconception and raises other issues.


People who own a mare(s) typically do not view themselves as a breeder. These backyard breeders often breed that mare(s) thinking they will have a cute fuzzy foal to admire or they want their child to “grow up with a foal”.  Unfortunately reality strikes when the foal is now 500 pounds, eating more than Ma and requires some handling skills! 


Anyone that puts their child on a horse that isn’t at least double digits in age, “a been there done that” horse really doesn’t love their child!  This is a perfect place to rehome rescue horses because the horse doesn’t even need to be 100% sound, but 150% safe!


Another common scenario, the neighbor lets their stallion cover their mare for a few bales of hay or other trade item.

 
Backyard breeders often have no investment and no long term plan. Take a peek at any popular social media site, you will see multiple examples of the backyard breeder, and the dumping of these unwanted horses into an already overloaded system.


While studying other breed registries I noted that a small portion of them have inspections of young stock and a grading system in place. This insures that the breed standard is being met. Each horse is given a grade and the owner is made aware of their horse’s strengths and weaknesses for breeding compatibility of their mares. I was unable to determine from the information that I read whether or not stud colts were either accepted as breeding stallions within the registry or were only allowed to be registered as geldings.  The idea of inspections and grading within breed registries appeals to me, especially in a place where there are tens of thousands of horses to choose from. Why not breed only the best to the best? As a conscientious horse breeder I would be willing to endorse such a grading and classification program to improve the breed standard of my chosen breed.


I’m not saying that there aren’t thousands of excellent working horses out there that are unregistered or grade horses, I am simply addressing the issue of excess unwanted horses, many of them purebred and registered horses that go to slaughter each year. Why not prevent breeding of sub-standard horses within the breed registries? Perhaps this solution alone could prevent as many as 5,000 or more mares from being bred each year.


In a conversation with Bunnie Harasym from Paradise Stable which is a privately owned equine rescue, she felt that reasonably priced gelding clinics that were well attended might help somewhat with the random breeding problem. One small slice can make the difference between a substandard stallion and a good gelding. She felt that Humane Societies needed to take severe cases more seriously. More prosecutions would result in cautious behaviour by horse owners to prevent being taken to court over horse neglect issues. Bunnie says that “Laws need to be rewritten and accountability needs to come into play.” As for re-homing and adopting out horses from rescues, (not just Paradise Stables) Bunnie had this to say. “No one wants to pay an adoption fee. It’s like trying to re-home a kitten, but more like a grenade, a 1200 lbs grenade that can become volatile if not handled with experience and care.”


Nikki Banks moved here to Canada with her family two and a half years ago from the United Kingdom. Nikki is an experienced equestrian and has decades of experience with horses. During a recent conversation with her she informed me that things were much different in the U.K. than it is here in Canada. The British Horse Society together with the Agriculture Farmers Union put in place a mandatory passport for all equines in the U.K. as of 2009. The passport forms are obtained through either a breed association or the British Horse Society and is filled out and verified by a licensed veterinarian when a foal is born. Each foal born must be inspected by a veterinarian and parentage verified, photos, and all identifying markings are noted as well as first injections. All horses are either micro-chipped or freeze branded. This passport records all medications which must also be administered and verified by a veterinarian and any change of ownership is recorded in the horse’s passport. This passport must accompany the horse any time it is transferred anywhere, show’s etc. The owner must accompany the horse during transportation or the hauler must be registered through their vehicle insurance which is expensive, in order to transport livestock without the owner present. This decreases horse theft. The horse owners were responsible for the cost of the passports and all veterinary verifications on the passports on each of their horses. With this added expense for each horse, it reduced the number of horses owned by individuals, making the horse more valuable and therefore better cared for in the end. Non-compliance with the mandatory Equine Passport program results in monetary fines and is punishable by law. Horses without passports cannot be sold legally.


Livestock auctions in the U.K. are attended by a RSPCA representative and most often a veterinarian. All horses and other livestock are checked over by the RSPCA and or veterinarian. If the animals are unhealthy or unfit for transport or sale, they are not accepted and turned away. If there are any major health or neglect issues they are dealt with immediately. Passports must also match the animal being brought in for sale. The percentage of horses being purchased by kill buyers in the U.K. is far less than in North America.


I felt that just these few changes could make a huge impact on the horse industry in North America. Just implementing the mandatory equine passports in Canada would reduce the number of horses bred due to the cost per horse for the passport registration and additional veterinarian costs associated. It would also increase the purchase price of a horse because breeders would pass the cost of the passport on to buyers.


Equine passports would enable a viable and accountable biosecurity environment for Canadian horses. A serious equine epidemic in Canada would be difficult to trace, assuming that owners are cooperative! A definitive, traceability program in place would resolve that issue.


Another article on the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition website addressed the European Commission requirements for equine traceability by July 2013. From the article which was quite lengthy and involved Equine Canada, the International Equine Business Association, Horse Welfare Canada and several other organizations, it didn’t seem like they were able to make any headway and put something in place similar to the United Equine Lifetime Number and passports that are mandatory in the U.K. and other European Unions. According to the article, the government didn’t want to invest money into the identification program outlined by Equine Canada because they were on the fence as to whether horses should be classified as livestock. The European Commission’s July 2013 deadline has come and gone. The Canadian government has no equine traceability passport in place at this time.   Now what happens with the horsemeat being exported to the European Union? There is no possible way to trace the drugs being administered to any of the horses being slaughtered and guarantee that the meat is safe for human consumption. This also raises the questions about US horse slaughter plants re-opening. Wouldn’t the USDA also be bound by the same European Commission as Canada in regards to the traceability program?


It appears that the situation just keeps getting uglier and uglier all the time. Many of the comments on the article that I refer to from the CHDC, were from horse owners that didn’t want to be told what to do and felt that they were actually supporting the slaughter industry if they were to comply with the traceability program. I think they are straddling the fence, they say they don’t support the slaughter industry but they want to keep breeding substandard horses and overbreeding at a ridiculous rate because they think they are making a dollar.


Breeders don’t profit by breeding specifically for the meat market, at .30 per pound or $300 for an average horse, basic math says that it doesn’t even pay for one year’s worth of feed, at Western Canadian prices.  They do not invest in training their horses and are breeding large numbers of them rather than breeding for quality.
HWAC (Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada) which is a known pro-slaughter advocate is trying to cash in on the Equine Identification Program by working together with animal tech companies on a microchip program, prior to that they worked on an iris (eye) scan id program….hmm a few dollars to be made in that partnership! I can understand anti-slaughter supporters would not want to waste their money on implementing this program.


My breed association bylaws require me to microchip all of the horses that I register. I realize how costly this means of identification is, not to mention how utterly useless it would be would my horses become lost or stolen. Why reinvent the wheel? Hot branding and freeze branding have been in use for decades and are a permanent and highly visible means of identification. The cost of branding is low in comparison to injecting a microchip. Brands are easily identifiable and simple to read, as opposed to having an expensive reader that has to be within a few inches of the chip in order to read it.


Then there is the ultimate question as to how horses should be classified? Are they livestock, or pets and companion animals? I think that horses should be in a classification unto their own, simply “Equines”. Livestock to me denotes domestic animals that are used solely for the purpose of producing goods for man. Domestic fowl are raised solely for egg and meat production, hogs also solely for the purpose of meat production, cattle for milk and meat production and horses … not so. Pets or companion animals, cats, dogs, rabbits, gerbils, mice, and almost any other small animal that man has thought to befriend and call their pet are solely to provide companionship to man, horses … not so. Horses and other equines have been used for transportation, farm work, entertainment (racing and other events), provided protection and companionship. Horses have carried man into battle over the centuries, carried provisions and provided food when nothing else was available. Horses have been revered and honored worldwide for their heroic efforts for man and in fact many books have been written about the subject. There is no other species of animal on the planet that equals the “Equine” in his heart and versatility, so how can we then classify him as livestock or just a pet?


It is my opinion that the pro-slaughter advocates are ruthless people and organizations that hide behind the guise of “humane slaughter” and disposal of unwanted horses, all for the almighty dollar.


The backyard breeders, horse hoarders and irresponsible horse owners are the individuals that hide behind the guise of being “horse lovers, against slaughter” when in fact they are the integral part of the problem contributing to unwanted horses that end up in the slaughter pipeline.


Then there are the breeders of the three major breed contributors of registered horses that end up at slaughter who don’t really care about where the horses go and feel that slaughter is a necessary evil (the ones that look the other way and pretend it’s not happening).


However there are true, caring and conscientious horse people out there. The ones that care for their horses their whole life, they put great thought into breeding a mare to a certain stallion, they care what their foal will become, keeping accurate health records on each of their horses and they follow through to invest in training. The caring and conscientious horse owner sells their horses privately, they plan for retirement and end of life options with dignity for the horses that they have committed themselves to.


In conclusion I think that anti-slaughter advocates need to rethink their agenda, repurpose their energy to end slaughter. Instead they need to go back to the root of the problem, find ways to regulate the number of horses bred each year and training more horses with a purpose. This will inevitably result in less horses going to the slaughter pipeline. Advocate for the Lifetime Equine Number and mandatory passports for horses, making it mandatory for only licensed veterinarians to administer and verify injections for horses. Have all horses hot or freeze branded for highly visible identification to prevent theft and enable biosecurity traceability. Advocate to the breed associations to pass a breed inspection and grading system bylaw into their breed standards.


There should be enhanced inspections and prosecution for violations of Canada’s Code of Practice for care and handling of equines at all auction barns and slaughter facilities.

 
Rescues also need to consider the quality of life of the animals they rescue, using humane euthanasia as an option. 


If true horsemen and women everywhere were to make an effort to help make the changes necessary to reduce the number of unwanted horses, the slaughter industry would be in decline. Laws need to be upheld and the people guilty of the offences need to be held accountable by following through on prosecution. Prosecution equals a deterrent.


If you are straddling the fence about this issue or possible solutions, I recommend that you get off the fence to either stand in the blood of the 80,000 plus horses slaughtered this year with your handful of cash, or jump over the fence and make a difference for the horses in the following year. Anyone who straddles the fence will undoubtedly get a sore crotch. 


We are not personally funded in whole or part by any special interest group, nor is Mitzy’ s Mane & Tails, Horse Owner Today or any subsidiary businesses’ funded in whole or part by any special interest group.  Neither are we or our business’s pro or anti slaughter, pro or anti rescue, we are simply pro horse and pro healthy horse industry.


Bonnie is a lifelong horseperson who doesn’t get to ride nearly enough!   Founder and CEO of horseownertoday.com, today’s horse owner magazine, she has a serious concern over the state of the horse industry today, specifically unwanted horses and their adverse impact on the industry.


Mitzy is an experienced equine enthusiast, small scale Canadian horse breeder, Zelta’s Canadians and author of “Hoof Prints On My Heart” and “Rim-Fyre and the Stones of Time”. The 2013 Equine Welfare Communications Award recipient continues her work communicating horse welfare issues.



HORSE-TRANSPORT VIOLATIONS UNCOVERED, OFFICIALS FAIL TO ACT

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   March 26, 2013 16:23


Secretly Taped, Horse Hauler Admits to Using Invalid Health Documents—PETA Files Complaints With State Agencies

Morton, Texas — A PETA undercover investigator has documented evidence of serious violations involving apparent fraudulent veterinary health forms in the transport of horses across state lines from Iowa into Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Twice last year, the PETA investigator rode along with a "kill buyer"—someone who purchases horses and transports them to slaughterhouses or feedlots—as he moved horses he had purchased in Iowa through Missouri and Kansas to feedlots and transfer points in Oklahoma and Texas. The kill buyer was caught on tape admitting that the veterinary forms he carried "certifying" that the horses in his trailer were free of deadly equine infectious anemia (EIA)—a potentially fatal viral disease with no known cure or preventive vaccine—were actually those of other horses, not those of the horses on board his truck, and that his veterinarian had taught him how to falsify the EIA forms.

Although the Texas Animal Health Commission and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry had been made aware that the kill buyer, by his own admission, was bringing horses into the states without valid EIA paperwork—unloading potentially infected horses onto crowded feedlots, risking the health of hundreds of other horses throughout each state—officials have taken no action. PETA is now calling on officials to investigate this failure to act and has posted action alerts on its popular website urging its supporters to do the same.

"Agency inaction means that potentially infected horses traveling from Iowa to Texas may have spread this deadly disease from the Oklahoma and Texas feedlots to the entire states," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "While agencies look the other way, kill buyers like this one are still transporting horses today."

Broadcast-quality video footage and PETA's complaints are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

Equine Guelph Declares 2013 the Year of Colic Prevention!

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 23, 2013 09:39


Guelph, ON. - Equine Guelph is combating the number one killer of horses (other than old age!) with a new eWorkshop on colic prevention, March 11 to 24.
 
This affordable online short course is designed to help horse owners understand colic and take preventative measures by following good stable management practices. At a cost of only $75 plus HST, this eWorkshop could translate into thousands of dollars of savings by helping horse owners avoid the nightmare of colic.
 
Equine Guelph's Colic Prevention eWorkshop will cover topics that will help horse caregivers reduce colic in horses by identifying risk factors, understanding different types of colic, detecting early signs and symptoms, assessing their management plans and developing preventative strategies.
Upon completion of the Colic Prevention eWorkshop, participants are eligible to receive a certificate from Equine Guelph. This two-week online course also qualifies for Equine Canada coaches updating credits.
 
As part of the colic prevention program, Equine Guelph is also launching its latest FREE online health care tool, the "Colic Risk Rater," which will assess and calculate colic risk and provide useful feedback on management practices.
 
 
Every month in 2013, Equine Guelph will be providing a practical colic prevention tip in Equine Guelph's e-News, which will be capped off with the release of a Colic Prevention Tips poster in December.
 
Equine Guelph would like to thank everyone who participated last fall in Equine Guelph's Canada-wide colic survey. "Understanding the horse owners' experiences with colic has assisted Equine Guelph in developing a Colic Prevention Program tailored to the industry's needs," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph.
 
In addition to funding from Alltech and Standardbred Canada, investment in this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.  Partners include: Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Society of Ontario, Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners, Ontario Equestrian Federation, Ontario Harness Horse Association and the Ontario Veterinary College.
 
For more information about how to reduce the risk of colic using Equine Guelph's Colic Prevention Program, visit EquineGuelph.ca/eworkshops/colic.php.

 
Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.
 
Story by:
Jackie Bellamy  
     

 
 
 
 
 
               
 
   
 
 
 
 

Tags: , , ,

Equine Education

Sign up for your FREE Health Flash

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 15, 2013 13:51


 
                                                             
 

Equine Guelph is pleased to announce the introduction of Health Flash - a program of four seasonal health reminders to help the busy horse owner keep on top of the changes that affect their sector during the year. The program will also provide special alerts in case of disease outbreaks and comes complete with interactive games to test your seasonal savvy.
 
"Health Flash will be a valuable tool to any horse owner as it provides very concise information to help keep on top of seasonal issues. Health Flash has the potential to have a positive economic impact on the industry as a whole as 'healthy horses' translate into a 'healthy industry'," says University of Guelph researcher, Dr. Kim McGurrin.
 
In addition to funding from Vétoquinol Canada and Merck Canada, investment in this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. Other partners include the Canadian Animal Health Institute and the Ontario Veterinary College.
 
Sign up at www.EquineGuelph.ca to receive Health Flash.

Tags: , , ,

Equine Education

Notice to the Industry - Equine Herpes at Sports Creek

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 15, 2013 10:13

Report of case of Equine Herpes at Sports Creek in Michigan

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has been made aware of a case of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in a horse that raced at Sports Creek Raceway on December 19th.

Due to the report of this confirmed case, ORC Veterinarian Supervisor Dr. Bruce Duncan advises that Ontario racetracks need to be cautious. “The racing industry is very mobile. While it is up to the discretion of the track, I strongly recommend that race secretaries not accept entries from horses that have raced at this track in the past 30 days.”

http://www.ontarioracingcommission.com/whatsnew.aspx?id=882&utm_source=Health_Flash_January_2013&utm_campaign=Health+Flash+Jan_13&utm_medium=email

Equine Guelph Combats Colic with Your Help!

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 4, 2012 09:17



 
 
Guelph, ON. - Colic is the number one killer of horses (other than old age!) and Equine Guelph is launching a comprehensive colic survey across Canada to better understand colic management practices in the industry and how people are dealing with colic. "Understanding the horse owners' experiences with colic will assist in developing targeted educational programs," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. 
 
Results from the survey will help develop Equine Guelph's Colic Prevention Program that includes a Colic Risk Rater and a Colic Prevention eWorkshop (a two-week online short course) with the aim of reducing horse owners' risk of colic. Dr. Judith Koenig, associate professor at the Ontario Veterinary College, states, "Colic is a major health issue facing horse owners both emotionally and financially. If horse owners are able to reduce their risk of colic through management, it will improve both the overall health and welfare of the horse." 
 
This is the first survey of its kind in Canada. The survey takes about 15-20 minutes and is available online through www.EquineGuelph.ca. The survey will be open from July 25th September 25th, 2012.
Participants of the survey will be entered into a draw for a chance to win one of two registrations to Equine Guelph's upcoming Colic Prevention eWorkshop!
 
In addition to funding from Standardbred Canada, investment in this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. 
 
For more information about Equine Guelph's Colic Prevention Program, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca/education/colic.
 
                                                                 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tags: , , ,

Maximizing the Benefits of Genomic Research on Clara Cell Secretory Protein

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 21, 2012 18:13

 

 

 

 

 

In a major step towards combating issues affecting equine reproduction and respiration, researchers at the University of Guelph have identified a protein called Clara cell secretory protein (CCSP) that may assist in developing better defence systems when it comes to treatment and prevention.

The initial release of the horse genome database in 2007 has provided scientists with completely new information pertaining to horses' genes. This, along with the associated technologies in identifying proteins controlled by the genes, has since then greatly benefitted veterinary researchers working on equine health and disease.

 

Working as a main anti-inflammatory protein, CCSP appears to play a critical role in the defence against airway disease in mammals, and Dr. Dorothee Bienzle, Professor in the Department of Pathobiology at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), is currently studying the effects of this key protein and the role it can play in determining and treating Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO) in horses.

 

A chronic inflammatory lung disease, RAO is commonly referred to as heaves and affects up to 50% of horses worldwide. It is typically caused by an allergic-type of reaction following repeated exposure to environmental substances associated with poor quality hay or bedding. Even though this disease has been recognized for centuries, current treatment for horses with RAO is limited, resulting in affected horses being unable to race or perform as show horses.

 

While environment plays a key role in RAO, Bienzle believes that this disease could also develop in older horses that suffered severe respiratory virus infections as youngsters. Even after overcoming the viral infection, a certain proportion of these horses end up developing this asthma-like condition later on in life, which is then very difficult to treat and is essentially impossible to reverse.  

 

"We believe that some horses that suffer severe viral respiratory infections as youngsters, with organisms such as herpesvirus, influenza virus, or rhinovirus, develop a condition called 'inflammatory airway disease' (IAD)," says Bienzle. "Basically, the lining of the airways becomes inflamed, and some horses that have IAD never 'reset' their airway epithelium to the right balance of reacting to environmental stimuli and suppressing reactions. We believe those horses that remain prone to exaggerated inflammatory response are very likely to develop heaves."

 

Bienzle has discovered that the CCSP that is naturally produced in the lower bronchi plays an important role in counteracting lung inflammation in horses with RAO. In identifying the role of the protein they are studying, Bienzle explains that this will help researchers to better understand how the airway defends itself against environmental stimuli, enabling them to properly diagnose and better treat the condition.  

 

"We recognize CCSP as a main anti-inflammatory protein, but we don't really know how it works," explains Bienzle. "We would like to know whether it works in defending the airway epithelium (tissue which lines the respiratory tract) against viruses, inhaled particles, bacteria and/or other stimuli. We would also like to know how it decreases airway inflammation."  

 

While it has been found that the majority of CCSP is produced in the horse's conducting airway, University of Guelph researchers have also discovered important changes pertaining to key proteins that are involved in similar interactions between the uterus of the mare and the early developing embryo. Dr. Keith Betteridge, Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Tony Hayes, Department of Pathobiology, both professors at the OVC, came together eight years ago with a common goal of reducing early pregnancy loss in mares.  

 

Nearly 17% of diagnosed pregnancies fail to produce a foal, and about 60% of the failures occur within the first five weeks of pregnancy. Both Betteridge and Hayes are focused on identifying the changes in molecules that are produced in the uterus in mares, including proteins that play a critical role in the failure of early pregnancy, as well as in infertility due to inflammatory processes. They feel that identifying these key molecules will assist in the development of early diagnostics and in creating new treatments for infertility.

 

"It would be very nice to be able to reduce the numbers of failed pregnancies," explains Betteridge. "And to be more specific, when we have systems that age the horse from the 1st of January for example, it is very important to get mares pregnant early in the season; being able to prevent pregnancy loss would go a long way towards meeting that goal."

Genomic research has equipped the veterinary researchers with the ability to identify many proteins by mass spectrometry and has revolutionized their ability to analyze the proteins in detail, as they study fertility and infertility in horses. It is details like these that guide researchers to the next 'growing point' of the continuous research process.  

 

The researchers note that there is much more to learn about early pregnancy, and by studying CCSP, they will have a better of idea of what can go wrong in early pregnancy.

"If we are able to identify the key molecules that are produced in mares," says Hayes, "We will be able to do two things. We will be able to hopefully develop a test which will help us measure the potential for that particular mare to get pregnant and may be able to use particular treatments that counteract the nasty effects of some of these proteins and therefore settle down the inflammatory response and make pregnancy more likely to occur earlier."

 

While genomic research has revolutionized the ability to identify the production of thousands of proteins, Hayes notes it can also be bewildering at times because researchers are confronted suddenly with huge amounts of new information about what's happening during these critical events. It then takes some time to analyze all of these activities and the locations of protein production.  

 

"There are a lot of the proteins controlled by these genes that have been identified in parallel with what has been known in other species, but still there are many, many genes that are poorly understood in the horse, and I think it will be another five or ten years before the full depth of genomic information will be available for researchers like us," says Hayes. "But nonetheless, there are many, many helpful items that we can follow now with regard to reproductive health that will be of benefit to the industry."

 

Funding for these research projects have been provided by Equine Guelph, Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the University of Guelph.

 

By - Barbara Sheridan  

 

 

                                                                   -30-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , ,

Fight Against Equine Infectious Disease Helped by Equine Foundation of Canada

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 16, 2012 11:39

 

With a highly mobile horse community, keeping your horses free from disease is one of the biggest challenges for horse owners.  The fight to keep infectious diseases at bay has taken a step forward with a generous donation from the Equine Foundation of Canada.  The funding allows the purchase of new equipment, including a microcentrifuge and fluorometer, for the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses at the University of Guelph.

 

"This equipment will help us explore some new areas in equine infectious diseases and hopefully help us understand how to better treat and prevent serious infections. We are grateful for the assistance of the Equine Foundation of Canada in advancing equine infectious disease research.” says Dr. Scott Weese, an equine internal medicine specialist and microbiologist with the Ontario Veterinary College and University of Guelph’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses.

 

The funding for this equipment will help advance the specialized work being done in his lab, and complement the array of equipment that is already present in the laboratory, including a state-of-the-art ‘next generation’ sequencing system. “Our laboratory was the first laboratory of any type in Canada to obtain this system, and it provides a unique capability internationally to perform equine infectious diseases research,” continues Weese.

 

With increased awareness of the dangers of infectious disease, recently heightened by the news of an equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) fatality in Ontario, this is a timely and welcome development.  “Biosecurity, the prevention of disease spread, is an issue of growing concern for the industry.  Equine Guelph will be working with Dr. Weese and his staff to get more information out to the horse industry in our communications and education programs.  The Equine Foundation of Canada has helped us to move this agenda forward with their funding for new equipment and are to be commended for their initiative to help the Canadian horse industry in this way.” says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph.  Registration is now open for the new education program “Beat the Bugs: Biosecurity for the Horse Owner” which launches this spring.  Members of the equine industry will take away valuable information for themselves and for their employees to help prevent the spread of infectious disease.

 

For more information about Biosecurity programs offered by Equine Guelph visit: http://www.equineguelph.ca/biosecurity.php or contact:  Dr. Susan Raymond (slraymon@uoguelph.ca)

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

disease | entertainment