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Information Resources on the Care and Welfare of Horses

AWIC Resource Series No. 36

November 2006

Updates Housing, Husbandry, and Welfare of Horses, 1994

Compiled and edited by:

Cristin Swords
Animal Welfare Information Center
National Agricultural Library
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Published by:

U. S. Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
National Agricultural Library
Animal Welfare Information Center
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
Web site:

Published in cooperation with the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Web Policies and Important Links



This information resource came to fruition through the diligence of a student employee at the Animal Welfare Information Center. The document contains a comprehensive bibliography and extensive selection of web site resources. Two papers introducing horse care and welfare issues are also included. Dr. C. Stull of the University of California at Davis presents an overview of equine issues in the United States and Dr. D. Mills of the University of Lincoln gives an introduction to worldwide equine ethics and concerns.

Horse welfare issues are coming increasingly to the forefront of animal issues. An economic impact study conduced by Deloitte Consulting LLP for the American Horse Council Foundation in 2005 indicated that there are over 9.2 million horses in the United States with over 4.6 million people involved as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers. Over the past few years, the US Congress ha s discussed bills related to the transportation and slaughter of horses as well as the sale of wild free-roaming horses and burros. Additionally, concerns over the production of pregnant mare's urine for hormone replacement therapy (PMU ranching) led to the establishment of groups who placed animals in new homes after ranches were closed. For an overview of the equine ranching industry, see the article PMU Ranching Demonstrates Benefits of Self-Regulation by Norman Luba in the Animal Welfare Information Center Bulletin Vol 10., No. 1-2 (1999).

In the United States, the federal Horse Protection Act was first passed in 1972 in order to prohibit painful soring practices and continues to be enforced today. Under the Animal Welfare Act, only horses used in biomedical research, teaching or testing are regulated. The Animal Legal and Historical Center at the Michigan State University College of Law provides a list of federal and state horse related statutes in the United States. Worldwide, many countries perceive horses as pets rather than farm animals. In the United Kingdom (UK), DEFRA provides a gateway to horse issues in government, including links to information on health, breeding, and passports for travel. An overview of international anti-cruelty laws is also provided by the Animal Legal and Historical Center at the Michigan State University College of Law.

This document will continue to evolve as new research is conducted and published. It is hoped that this information resource is a starting point for all people who care and work with horses.

About this Document

This publication updates and expands AWIC's Housing, Husbandry and Welfare of Horses, 1994. The bibliographic chapters are divided into subject areas that cover anesthesia and analgesia, behavior, environmental enrichment, housing, law and legislation, nutrition and feeding, pasture, equine ranching, safety , training and transportation. Citations included in these chapters were published between 1994 and December 2006 and selected from searches conducted using a variety of agricultural, medical and life science databases.  In each chapter, the citations are arranged alphabetically according to the last name of the primary author. Web sites specific to each topic area are included at the end of the chapters.

Each citation in the bibliographies contains descriptor terms, an abstract when available, and the NAL call number if the particular source is available at the National Agricultural Library (NAL). Visit the NAL web site for information on how to request library materials.

Readers are cautioned as to the dynamic nature of the internet and the fact that web addresses and content are subject to change. All sites are current as of April 2008.

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April 24, 2008