SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Horses

Companion Animals

SPCA advocates that horses must only be kept as companions when a person has the knowledge, ability, and means to meet their physical, health, and behavioural needs.

SPCA advocates that the castration of horses must only be performed by a veterinarian, or a veterinary student under the direct supervision of a veterinarian, and must be performed with adequate and appropriate medical care prior to, during, and after the procedure, including anaesthesia and analgesia.

Castration is a routine surgery that is performed to prevent unwanted offspring and possible health or behavioural issues. However, it is also a painful and stressful procedure with the risk of complications, if not performed appropriately or if appropriate pain relief is not administered.

SPCA advocates that the rectal examination of horses should be performed by a veterinarian or a veterinary student under the direct supervision of a veterinarian or, for the purpose of artificial insemination (AI), a suitably trained AI technician and must be performed with adequate and appropriate medical care prior to, during, and after the procedure.

Rectal examination that is carried out for any reason, including pregnancy and colic diagnosis, carries a significant risk of complications.

SPCA advocates that riders or drivers must not engage in practices, or use equipment that causes pain, fear, or distress.

SPCA opposes the use of whips in the training of horses due to the negative impacts to their welfare.

Good horsemanship, husbandry, and training should allow for horses to perform well without the need for restrictive and painful aids. Horses must not be subjected to excessive behavioural restriction, discomfort, or constant pressure from the use of equipment such as spurs, whips, bits, tight nosebands, twitches, tongue ties, head pole burrs, fixed martingales or side-reins.

SPCA advocates that horse whiskers (vibrissae) are not clipped as these perform an important function by providing sensory feedback on the horse’s environment.

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