NIVA to hold major Equine Welfare Symposium

ON Thursday 22 February 2024 the North of Ireland Veterinary Association (NIVA) will host a workshop in the Dunadry Hotel, Antrim.
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Dr Esther Skelly-Smith, President of NIVA, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the veterinary and equestrian community to come together and have their say on the future of equine welfare in Northern Ireland.

“The purpose of the event is to engage the equestrian and veterinary community in considering the changing landscape of equine welfare, and to support NIVA to co-produce a consensus paper as a call for action.”

Attendees will have a unique opportunity to hear from and engage with international experts including:

Attendees will have a unique opportunity to hear from and engage with international experts.Attendees will have a unique opportunity to hear from and engage with international experts.
Attendees will have a unique opportunity to hear from and engage with international experts.

- Mr Roly Owers - Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare. A veterinary surgeon with previous veterinary roles in the Blue Cross and Royal Army Veterinary Corps, he is a Director of the British Horse Council, and he regularly liaises on policy with government.

- Dr David Marlin - One of the equine world’s leading scientists, he has worked at the forefront of equine research for over 30 years. David is the President of the UK National Equine Welfare Council and is the President of the internationally established Sport Horse Welfare Foundation.

- Dr Meta Osborne - Equine Veterinarian and Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin.

- Dr Jane Williams - Associate Professor and Head of Research at Hartpury University. An experienced researcher, with a passion for enhancing equine performance and wellbeing.

There are thought to be over 34,000 horses in Northern Ireland.

A 2019 DAERA commissioned analysis valued the equine industry’s economic contribution to the country as exceeding £210 million.

Despite this, it has long suffered from a lack of government policy, legislation, and strategy.

This symposium aims to raise awareness about the need to fill that gap.

The event will bring together key stakeholders – veterinary surgeons and nurses, industry, and charity representatives, DAERA, trainers, coaches, breeders, owners and riders – to focus on the changing landscape that is equine welfare.

It will promote and showcase the work of vets, and their role in promoting and supporting high standards in equine welfare, highlighting the veterinary professions first responsibility to advocate for the best interests of equines, and to ensure that as many as possible have a good life and a humane death.

The ultimate aim is to address welfare concerns in the light of changes in both scientific evidence and public opinion, and to work towards a consensus on the key actions needed in Northern Ireland.

The event is open to all with an interest in equine welfare and the future of the equestrian industry in NI.

It is sponsored by Agria Pet Insurance and supported by the British Horse Society Ireland.

Agria Business Development Manager, Susie Hill, commented: “As an insurer that has redefined horse insurance to better support horse welfare and owners in difficult times, Agria is proud to support this Symposium.”

The event starts at 1.30 pm and will finish at 5.30pm.

Tickets are priced at £45 and are available online from: