Bristol Veterinary School have an exciting opportunity to be part of a large project expected to have an important impact on racehorse welfare. Currently, a range of parameters for assessing the welfare of equids are described in the research literature, but very few of these are racehorse specific. Thoroughbreds actively involved in racing are in the public eye and are treated as elite athletes, as well as representing a substantial part of the UK equine population. Many of the classic physical health and nutrition-type welfare indicators applied to abandoned and low value animals are of limited relevance to the racing sector.
This project will develop racehorse-relevant welfare measures through a collaborative, co-construction process with racehorse industry stakeholders. Potential new measures will be developed, tested and re-evaluated by stakeholder groups and then integrated with existing relevant measures to form a robust, industry relevant racehorse welfare assessment tool.
The University of Bristol project team will work with British Horseracing Authority staff to conduct a baseline welfare assessment survey of UK racehorses which will highlight good welfare practice as well as identify areas for potential improvement. The project will be continually working towards initiating industry uptake and ownership of the welfare assessment tool and will develop policy recommendations for embedding the welfare assessment process in the racehorse industry to provide on-going impact beyond the life of this project. Initially, this tool will be created for use with horses in training, with the other life stages considered subsequently in follow up projects.
The project is funded by The Racing Foundation https://www.racingfoundation.co.uk and is led by Prof Becky Whay and Dr Siobhan Mullan.
Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Siobhan Mullan; Siobhan.email@example.com; 0117 928 9484
We welcome applications from all members of our community and are particularly encouraging those from diverse groups, such as members of the LGBT+ and BAME communities, to join us.