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European parliament adopts Resolution to improve equine welfare


FOUR PAWS congratulates Julie GIRLINGS’, MEP for the approved initiative report on responsible ownership and care of equines

Brussels, 14.03.2017 – The International animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS congratulates Julie GIRLING, MEP, on today’s adoption of the Resolution by the European Parliament, in favour of the Initiative report on responsible ownership and care of equines aiming at enforcing legislative measures to ensure equine husbandry and welfare throughout Europe. The report includes the recommendations laid out in the study published by World Horse Welfare and Eurogroup for Animals, ‘Removing the Blinkers: the health and welfare of European Equidae in 2015’, which outlined the scope, scale and welfare challenges of the equine sector in Europe.


Madam GIRLINGS’ report pushes in particular for the promotion and guidance on responsible breeding and the management of the equine populations, by controlling the natality rate. Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in Brussels, explains that “at FOUR PAWS, we believe that controlling birth is essential for managing the populations of kept and unkept horses. It is an essential part of the duties of a responsible horse owner as it prevents unintended foals, which very often leads to equine overpopulation and lowers the value of the animals, with unavoidable problems of care and welfare”.


Since years now, FOUR PAWS has proven the benefits of birth control programs on the feral horses populations of the Romanian Danube Delta. Pierre SULTANA adds that “FOUR PAWS is happy to see that the report recognises the importance of native species of equidae living in the wild”.


Pierre SULTANA, regrets however that “some stakeholders have been pushing in the report amendments to facilitate the slaughter of equids that initially were not considered as part of the food chain and justify it as a way to control populations, rather than looking at the real cause of the equine overpopulation.  This will never solve the problem. On the contrary, this might encourage abandonment, indiscriminate and irresponsible breeding and cause a lot of animal suffering.”


The report indicates the creation of a European Charter for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism portraying clearer indicators for Member States, regarding the welfare and the use of working equids. This is in line with FOUR PAWS project on activities regarding horses used for tourism, such as the one that developed in Petra, Jordan.


The Resolution as adopted can be read here:



Contact information:

VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS,  European Policy Office

Avenue de la Renaissance 19/11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium


Phone: 0032-2-7400888