Bern, April 2022
Swiss Horse Industry Council and Observatory - COFICHEV
Publication of the report "Ethics and the Horse" 2022
In 2011, the COFICHEV (Swiss Council and Observatory for the Equine Industry) published a highly regarded report entitled "Reflections on Ethics and the Horse". In this document, the COFICHEV had for the first time analyzed the current ethical issues and proposed a state of play as well as future perspectives. This first report on ethics proposed ways of thinking about an ethically correct relationship with the horse as a partner. The aim was to contribute to a better protection of the dignity and welfare of these animals in the areas of keeping, use and breeding.
Approximately 10 years later, COFICHEV recognised the need to revisit this topic. Under the leadership of Dr. med. vet. Pierre-André Poncet, a revised and greatly expanded version of the ethical report was drafted, incorporating the most recent scientific publications. A 36-page summary has just been published in German, English and French under the title "Ethical considerations on the dignity and welfare of horses and other equids. Paths to better protection". The English version is attached to this email. The PDF can also be downloaded from the COFICHEV website: Link. The full version of the report will also be available later on the COFICHEV website.
For a long time, the horse industry has focused mainly on the economic field and has neglected the welfare aspect. In western countries, social demands for the ethically correct treatment of animals have increased. The discourse around the acceptability of the use of horses and the environmental damage caused by their use and keeping has spread to the general population. With this ethical report, COFICHEV offers a guide to the use of equines that appeals to personal responsibility and always focuses on animal welfare. It addresses issues relating to the keeping, care, breeding and reproduction, transport, sporting use, but also the authorized medical interventions and decisions to be taken at the end of an equine's life.
The new edition of the ethics report focuses on a very current and important societal development and aims to give professionals in the equine sector, leisure riders and also laymen some guidelines for an approach to the horse partner based on animal welfare.
Annexes: Summary " Ethical reflections on dignity and well-being of horses and other equines - Paths for better protection "