Throughout April, we will be raising awareness of our welfare work, as part of our Platinum Year celebrations.
We have an entire network of over 200 Welfare Officers, who respond to calls of horses in need. They deal with around 1,500 new cases a year and work with horse owners to provide advice, support and education with the overarching aim of improving welfare.
The whole ethos of BHS Welfare, is improving welfare through education. We run nationwide Healthcare and Education Clinics which provide much needed healthcare for horses considered to be ‘at-risk’. It is a great opportunity to reach out to horse owners, and educate them on how they can improve the welfare of their horse. With the support of BEVA Trust volunteer vets and an extensive list of supportive organisations, the reduced rate services, in addition to castration include general health checks, passports and microchipping, foot care, worming and dentistry. We also offer education, advice and support on a huge range of issues. Healthcare Clinics help us engage with and build lasting relationships with local communities. Local welfare contacts are helping us identify owners who would not regularly seek healthcare for their horses and would not have their colts gelded otherwise and/or are known to be breeding indiscriminately.
Thanks to our clinics, previously tethered and fly-grazed stallions are now living on yards and unchained in fields. Not only have we prevented potential future foals from suffering, we have immediately improved the welfare of the horses brought forward for gelding. So far more 790 horses have been seen at 17 clinics, with 375 colts being castrated. With clinics running throughout the spring and autumn, our target is to castrate 500 horses by the end of 2018.
We want to equip horse owners with the skills and knowledge to improve the welfare of their horse. Our Welfare Helpline is available if any horse owner has a question about their horses care, or wants guidance. We also have a whole host of information available on our website.
Our REACT Now to Beat Colic campaign aims to educate horse owners on how to spot the early signs of colic. The campaign is based on research conducted by the University of Nottingham, and we created videos and information packs that aim to help owners spot the early signs of colic in their horse. We have now distributed over 15,000 of these packs to horse owners and they are very popular with vets, who are keen to provide them to their clients.
Friends at the End is a BHS initiative designed to make sure that no horse owner has to face the loss of their companion alone. We have specially trained Friends at the End Welfare Officers, who talk through the euthanasia options with an owner, and can also be there on the day. We have supported more than 300 horse owners through this difficult period.
We rely on donations to fund our vital welfare work. Please consider becoming a Helping Horses member. To find out more, visit our website.
To find out more about our welfare work, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bhs.org.uk/welfare-and-care.