Tag Archives: Toward An Equine Bill of Rights

Enlightened Horsemanship’s Favorite Posts of 2009

If you blog, what was your favorite post from last year? I’d love it if you posted it here in the comments, so we can all go and read it.
If you have a favorite from EHTT in the past year, let me now what it was.

January 2009

Mindful Monday: On Mistakes

February 2009

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor: The Missing Disclaimer
Verse Thursday + Completely Un-Horse-Related Ramblings of a Buddhist Nature

March 2009

How and Why Did Popular Natural Horsemanship Get So Far From Its Roots?
Handler Independence and Calm, Secure Learning in T.T.E.A.M.
Ray Hunt, Rest In Peace
Just Hold Your Horses!

April 2009

Horses, Shamans and Autism in Mongolia
The Mindlessness of Equestrian Vanity
Sally Swift, Godmother of Mindful Horsemanship, Dies At Age 95

May 2009

Another Bridleless Riding and Communication Tool: The Tellington TTouch Balance Rein
Ever Thought Something Was Too Good To Be True?
Guest Blog Contest Winner: Lost Trail Ranch’s High Mountain Muse
You Asked For It, You Got It: The Liberty Neck Ring

June 2009

The Nose Knows
Toward An Equine Bill of Rights
Embracing Groundlessness

July, 2009

Petition to Allow Bitless Bridles in USEF Rated Competitions
The Dominance Model and Horsemanship by Equine Ethology Are Dead
I Need Your Help and I Need It Fast! (Mongol Derby Animal Welfare Violations)
Affirmations of Awareness for Horsepeople: On Perception
Another Post About Demanding Your Horse’s Attention
Do You Demand Your Horse’s Complete Attention?
The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare A Solid Foundation For An Equine Bill of Rights

August 2009

What can I say? Some months, you just don’t hit your stride. I should have gone on vacation. Go back to July. It was a good month. Or check out September.

September 2009

Styles in the Horse World: Trailer Loading
Parelli Parade of Preposterousness
Science Friday: Heart Rate & Heart Rate Variability And Emotionality in Horses
Verse Thursday: Puerhan on Hurt
Unprecedented BLM Mustang Roundup Hearing Tomorrow: Please Make Your Voice Heard

October, 2009

Eye Contact: Necessary for Catching Your Horse?
Reader Dilemma: Catching A Horse In The Field
Backing Up; The Holy Grail of Horsemanshp?
Parelli Natural Horsemanship Cake Recipe

November 2009

Mindful Monday: Don’t Just Do Something–Sit There!
Interpretations of “Pressure”
Routine Tasks With No Inherent Meaning Diminish the Spirit of the Horse
From Gallop to Freedom: Do we REALLY Know What We Do?
Horses In Transition: A Call To Action

December 2009

We Are All Made of Stars
Sage By Nature: Horses Drawing Out Our Goddess Force
I Ride/A Simple Statement
Dressage Derailed at Horses for Life
Another Brick In the Wall: Trainers Eschewing Rope Halters

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The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare A Solid Foundation For An Equine Bill of Rights

The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare A Solid Foundation For An Equine Bill of Rights

In my post Toward An Equine Bill of Rights, I asked if anyone had thoughts on what might comprise an acceptable enough standard of horse care to be called an Equine Bill of Rights.

Either no one read it, no one thought it was worth commenting on, or no one had any ideas. In lieu of interpreting silence as indifference, I’m assuming it was too big a ball of wax.

I was greatly encouraged today when I discovered a kindred spirit in Ethical Horsemanship, who speaks of the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare as they might apply to competition horses. I wonder if these Five Freedoms were based upon Norman Rockwell’s famous Four Freedoms paintings which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on February 20, 1943. (Lucky for me, in spite of an unhappily-upcoming birthday) I wasn’t around then, but those photos never fail to arouse a feeling of gratitude tinged with sadness. Particularly poignant is Freedom From Fear, which affected me deeply long before I even had a child I could not protect from pain.

(click on each photo for a much larger version)

If it was an intentional nod to the (sentimental) brilliance of Rockwell, The Farm Animal Welfare Council chose a solid platform to build their Five Freedoms on. If we love our animals, why not ensure that they enjoy the same benefits of living in the modern that we hope to provide for our loved ones? After all, when we assume the stewardship of an animal, we also take on the responsibility of treating it humanely. But I don’t want to limit this discussion to what is humane treatment and what is not. That’s a different ball of wax. There’s a lot of wax in this post, isn’t there?

The Farm Animal Welfare Council says nothing of Norman Rockwell on its web page. It’s probably just more anthropomorphizing on my part to make such a sentimental connection. Here’s what they have to say about the origins of the Five Freedoms:

The concept of Five Freedoms originated with the Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals kept under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems, the Brambell Report, December 1965 (HMSO London, ISBN 0 10 850286 4). This stated that farm animals should have freedom “to stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs,” a list that is still sometimes referred to as Brambell’s Five Freedoms.

Clearly, this initial list might constitute humane treatment, but you’d have to go a long way before it gets close to freedom, or even a Bill of Rights. They went further:

1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
2. Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
5. Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

For a good look at whether competition horses might enjoy these freedoms, visit Ethical Horsemanship. It’s a good post. And the U.K. has made a good start. To see what kind of start the U.S. has made, start at the National Agriculture Library of the Animal Welfare Information Center.

There is enough material floating around out there to come up with a first draft of an Equine Bill of Rights without breaking a sweat. What do you think?

(and I didn’t even mention wax!)

Many many thanks to Ethical Horsemanship for taking this topic up and kicking me in the pants with a great post.

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