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An Evaluation of Equid Welfare Perceptions and Knowledge Discrepancies
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Equids are used as beasts of burden, show animals, and as a protein and milk source throughout the world; the uses vary from country to country. The depth and topical range of knowledge also varies significantly. This study identifies topical and geographical areas that need education on equid management and welfare, and ways to best distribute educational material. Knowledge related to husbandry, management, and health needs was measured and observed through the distribution of in-depth surveys and on-farm observation. Surveys and observations took place in Spain, Portugal, and Italy to determine how equid owners use their equids and how owners prioritize management and care practices, sources of information used for equid education, perceived credibility of sources used, current perceived knowledge of equid welfare, and owner perceived importance of welfare knowledge. The overall response rate among the 3 countries described competitive showing as the primary use of equids. The cumulative response in all countries showed that books were the most commonly used source of information; though, the cumulative response for the countries collectively resulted in seminars being perceived to have the highest credibility amongst equid owners. Overall, owners in Spain, Portugal, and Italy generally had a perceived knowledge of “average” for equid care practices. Using a mean weighted discrepancy score, lameness and nutrition were identified as areas in which the largest “gap” between perceived knowledge and perceived importance occurred. This gap identifies these areas as the target subjects for future educational programs. It is concluded that the dissemination of educational information would be most effective if provided through seminars.
Heartfield, Amy Marie (2015). An Evaluation of Equid Welfare Perceptions and Knowledge Discrepancies. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from