Charities have identified the need for impartial guidance on the issue of when and how to use grazing muzzles responsibly. It’s a dilemma that is faced by many horse owners every year, especially now the autumn flush of grass is growing.
In response, the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) has produced its first advisory video and written guidance on grazing muzzles.
The advice comes at a time when equine obesity continues to rise – posing a real health threat for horses. Grazing muzzles have their place to help control weight, but owners may leave it too late to use them or use them inappropriately.
The British Horse Society, Blue Cross, HorseWorld and Redwings Horse Sanctuary have joined forces to produce the guidance, with assistance from the British Equine Veterinary Association, The Donkey Sanctuary, Professor Pat Harris, Dr Annette Longland and Dr Teresa Hollands.
Nic de Brauwere, Chairman of NEWC, said: “Because their impact on horse welfare is not fully understood, there is real concern amongst horse owners about the use of grazing muzzles. While many of our NEWC member organisations are able to use other weight management options, these alternatives don’t exist for many horse owners.
"This leaves a gap where controversy over the equipment can escalate, identifying a real need for evidence-based and impartial advice.
“NEWC and its member organisations have produced this guidance based on the best evidence currently available; to help owners understand the potential risks and benefits of using grazing muzzles whilst being aware of potential alternatives that all contribute to weight control in their horses.”
The guidance leaflet is available now, as well as a video on the NEWC website. If you require any additional information contact NEWC on 02476 840703 or email email@example.com, or get in touch with the BHS Welfare team on 02476 840517 or firstname.lastname@example.org.