BC SPCA launches educational program for horse owners
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) is proud to announce a series of educational talks for horse owners and interested members of the public as part of an ongoing effort to improve horse welfare in B.C.
The BC SPCA’s Dr. Bettina Bobsien, equine veterinary specialist, will visit communities across B.C. to provide information on Canada’s new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines. Topics include:
- An overview of the industry-supported process to create a new Code of Practice for the care and handling of equines in Canada.
- Nutrition, health management, breeding, housing, humane training and other requirements and recommendations included in the Equine Code of Practice.
- The BC SPCA’s approach to preventing and addressing situations of horse abuse and neglect.
Horse Council BC representatives will also be on hand at the events to speak about the importance of horse welfare.
The original Equine Code was written in 1998 and it had about 25 “should” statements. The new Code has about 75 requirements - minimum standards of care that are enforceable under B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The BC SPCA encourages all horse owners to read the new Code of Practice thoroughly and to take advantage of Dr. Bobsien’s talks to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities as animal owners.
“The new Equine Code is an excellent educational tool to help both new and experienced horse owners understand the new minimum standards of care for horses,” says Dr. Bobsien. “It does away with all the myths and opinions about horsekeeping in Canada and goes back to the science to tell us what is in the best interest of the animals.”
“Horse Council BC is dedicated to providing education and encouraging best practice in all facets of the horse industry. Horse welfare and humane handling are of paramount importance and we are thrilled to have the Equine Code of Practice made available to BC’s horse community. These updated science based standards of care will serve as a practical tool to assist in the improvement of the lives of horses across the province,” says Gord Mackenzie, Vice President of Agriculture and Industry for Horse Council BC.
“The BC SPCA is committed to prevention and education programs that improve the welfare of animals in B.C,” says Craig Daniell, Chief Executive Officer of the BC SPCA. “We are delighted to be working with Dr. Bobsien and with organizations like Horse Council BC and Equine Canada to promote the progressive new standards of care adopted by the horse industry earlier this year.”
Dr. Bettina Bobsien, BSc (Ag), DVM, Dipl. ABVP (Equine): Since graduating from veterinary college in 1989, Dr. Bobsien’s practice has been almost exclusively equine, culminating with her attaining equine Diplomate status with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2008. Outside of professional pursuits, Dr. Bobsien has been involved with horses for her entire life. She was raised on a farm, and has ridden for pleasure and competition in many disciplines since childhood. She continues to be involved in many equestrian activities and associations and is certified by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association as a first responder as part of the Canadian Veterinary Reserve.
The Equine Code of Practice was developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council in partnership with Equine CanadaThe BC SPCA's participation has been generously funded by the Vancouver Foundation. The BC SPCA’s Dr. Bobsien represented the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the Equine Code Development Committee.
Funding for the Codes of Practice is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agricultural Flexibility Fund, under the Addressing Domestic and International Market Expectations Relative to Farm Animal Welfare initiative, as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
Kelly Coughlin, Senior Program Director
Horse Council British Columbia www.hcbc.ca