SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Horses, ponies and other domesticated equines (General)

Companion Animals

SPCA advocates that all persons involved in the breeding, keeping, or use of horses, ponies and other domesticated equines must have the facilities, skills, knowledge, and resources to provide them with a Good Life where they experience positive welfare and meet their physical, health and behavioural needs throughout their life.

Horses, ponies and other domesticated equines should be provided with the companionship of other domesticated equines or appropriate species, in accordance with the needs of their species, and the individual equine. Horses, ponies and other domesticated equines and require specialised knowledge in farriery, dentistry, and veterinary treatment.

(see Horses in Sport and Entertainment for more information)

SPCA supports the use of microchipping and registration of horses, ponies and other domesticated equines 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.

Rectal examination of equines must be performed by a veterinarian. If the rectal examination is performed for the purpose of artificial insemination (AI), SPCA advocates that this should only be performed by a suitably trained and experienced 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 animal involved and ensure that complications can be managed appropriately.

SPCA opposes transport of injured or sick equines for the purposes of euthanasia.

The euthanasia of horses, ponies and domesticated 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 euthanasia is required, but it cannot take place on-site, the animal must travel directly from their current position to the closest veterinarian or slaughterhouse.

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