SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Equines (General)

Animals in Entertainment, Sport, and Work

SPCA advocates that all persons involved in the breeding, keeping, or use of equines must have the facilities, skills, knowledge, and resources to fully meet their needs throughout their life.

Horses and donkeys have complex needs and require specialised knowledge in farriery, dentistry, and veterinary treatment.

SPCA supports the practice for all equines to be identified through the use of a microchip, instead of branding. SPCA endorses the national ban on the hot branding of equines and supports the same restriction introduced for freeze branding.

If freeze branding is carried out, equines must be given appropriate veterinary care (including anaesthetic and analgesic) and must be handled in a way that minimises distress.

The castration of equines must be performed by a veterinarian with adequate and appropriate pain management.

Pain relief must be provided prior to, during, and after the operation and include anaesthetic and analgesic.

Surgical castration is a painful and stressful procedure with the risk of complications, pain and distress if not performed appropriately or if sufficient pain management is not provided. In both cases of surgical and non-surgical castration, adequate and appropriate medical care must be provided prior to, during and after the operation and include anaesthetic and analgesic.

(see Castration in Farmed position statements)

Rectal examination of equines must be performed by a veterinarian. If the rectal examination is performed for the purpose of artificial insemination (AI), SPCA believes that this should only be performed by a suitably trained AI technician with qualifications from a recognised training authority.

Rectal examinations, including for pregnancy and colic diagnosis, carries a significant risk of complications and resultant pain and distress. Ensuring that this procedure is only carried out by a veterinarian will minimise the risk to the horse involved and that complications can be managed appropriately.

SPCA opposes transportation of debilitated, wild, or sick equines for the purposes of euthanasia.

The euthanasia of equines must be performed by a person who is trained and capable and has appropriate equipment for the task. Equine euthanasia should be done on-site to avoid transporting the animal. If an equine requires euthanasia, and it cannot take place on-site, the animal must travel directly from their current position to the closest veterinarian or slaughterhouse.

(see Casualty Animals in Farmed position statements)

SPCA opposes painful procedures such as firing, blistering or nicking of horses.

Whilst these practices are illegal in New Zealand, they are carried out in some other countries and horses have been known to be sent abroad to have these procedures carried out. Firing, blistering and nicking are cruel and ineffective practices and must never be used.

Hello! Choose your nearest SPCA Centre and see content specific to your location:
Hit enter to submit