Cold com­fort

EQUUS - - Eq Casereport -

A per­son’s horses stay out­side all win­ter, and of­ten the wa­ter in their troughs freezes over when the tem­per­a­ture drops. The owner car­ries two buck­ets of warm wa­ter out to help thaw the troughs in the morn­ing and evening, but oth­er­wise does not pro­vide ad­di­tional wa­ter.

The me­dian rat­ing of this sce­nario was 4, with a range of 1 to 5. What was par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing to DuBois about this vi­gnette is that it raises a wel­fare is­sue specif­i­cally ad­dressed in Canada’s na­tional Code of Prac­tice for keep­ing horses. “Ac­cess to wa­ter, re­gard­less of weather, is a re­quire­ment of the Code of Prac­tice,” says DuBois. “We were in­ter­ested in de­ter­min­ing how much wa­ter par­tic­i­pants deemed ‘ad­e­quate’ for the horses in ques­tion.”

The re­sponses to this sce­nario showed that equine pro­fes­sion­als were con­cerned with the num­ber of horses in the sce­nario, in­di­cat­ing that if the owner was pro­vid­ing for many horses with only two buck­ets of wa­ter this wasn’t ac­cept­able. While pro­fes­sion­als were crit­i­cal of cer­tain prac­tices, they were also cog­nizant of the dif­fi­cul­ties of horse man­age­ment, es­pe­cially dur­ing Cana­dian win­ters. As a re­sult, some pro­fes­sion­als in­di­cated that they were ap­pre­cia­tive of the owner’s ef­forts to pro­vide wa­ter, re­gard­less of the quan­tity.

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