The Responsible Ownership of Equids report was passed overwhelmingly with support from 656 out of 691 members of the present members of the European Parliament.
The report details the integral nature of working horses, donkeys and mules in Europe, while setting new initiatives to improve their working conditions. It also controls equine slaughter.
Dil Peeling, director of animal welfare and sustainability for the Brooke Animal Charity, an international organization dedicated to improving the lives of working equines, told Horsetalk.co.nz that the report is “the first step towards solid legislation in Europe.”
The Brooke was part of the report’s creation. The organization provided data and advice to members of parliament crafting the report, including Nuno Melo, its shadow rapporteur.
“As Shadow Rapporteur I was concerned to underline the importance of equids in every region of Europe, particularly in the rural areas, in the context of subsistence farming and in mountainous and difficult-to-reach regions, where it is clear that equids — working equids — are still playing a crucial role,” Melo told Horsetalk.co.nz.
“The report is a step forward but we need to do more to offer concrete support for these animals and their owner in the near future,” says Melo.
Peeling also acknowledged that the report’s recommendations are just the beginning.
“The report is correct in saying that owners and users require training and education to better look after their working equines, but these people often experience extreme economic difficulties,” says Peeling.
“This means it may be hard to apply what they learn. If we want to see real improvement and change, there is so much more we can do.”