'War Horse' Helps OEF Members Support Equine Welfare

Equine Guelph, the horse owner's resource center at the University of Guelph, has teamed up with the Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF) to offer a unique way for horse enthusiasts to donate to a newly formed equine welfare fund.

From now until June 30, 2012, $10 from every ticket OEF members purchase to attend the theatrical rendition of War Horse at the Princess of Wales Theater, located in Toronto, will be donated to the new Equine Guelph-OEF War Horse Welfare Education Fund. With more than 20,000 active OEF members, this could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars could be donated to help Equine Guelph develop new courses to ensure horses receive the best possible care and reduce welfare issues.

War Horse, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, highlights the heinous conditions horses were subjected to during World War I. Similar conditions perpetuate on a daily basis today, both in developing countries where horses are used as working animals and throughout developed countries where horses are not provided with their five freedoms (freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress), as defined by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee.

"In an industry where well-intentioned wives tales are often passed down rather than scientific knowledge, the horse is often the victim of mistreatment," Equine Guelph director Gail Eckert said in a statement. "Education in welfare will result in benefits including well-informed caregivers, healthier horses, lower vet bills, and fewer unwanted horses."

Because equine welfare issues are not always knowingly breached, but rather instigated due to lack of knowledge surrounding ways to optimize the biological and emotional affects that affect a horse's quality of life, Equine Guelph, together with the OEF, invites everyone to support equine welfare education.

For more information on the Equine Guelph-OEF 'War Horse' Welfare Education Fund visit www.EquineGuelph.ca.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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