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Optimising the Efficacy of Equine Welfare Communications: Do Equine Stakeholders Differ in Their Information-Seeking Behaviour and Communication Preferences?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Number of pages23
Issue number1
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Dec 2019
DatePublished (current) - 20 Dec 2019


Information on the management of animals within domestic environments is freely available to animal owners and caregivers either online, or in paper form by request. However, awareness is growing within the animal welfare sector that simply providing written guidelines or educational material is not enough to affect a positive change in owners in relation to animal welfare. In the quest to improve equine welfare, understanding the way that owners and other stakeholders seek information and their communication preferences is key to effective dissemination of up to date equine welfare information and research findings. Three UK equine stakeholder groups—horse owners, livery yard owners, and equine veterinarians—were surveyed online to find out where they sought equine information. Their awareness of equine welfare Codes of Practice, how they respond when they are asked to give advice to horse owners and their communication preferences were included within the survey. All three stakeholder groups tended to seek information from people rather than from organisations, or digital and printed resources. Veterinarians were the most used information source across all three stakeholder groups This highlighted the importance of ensuring that equine veterinarians have access to up to date, evidence-based equine welfare information. While the majority of participants were aware of the equine welfare Code of Practice, fewer had actually read it, this was true particularly amongst horse owners. The primary reasons for this were the features of the Code as well as the issuing organisation. The stakeholders expressed a preference for information to be communicated in a neutral or positive way rather than focusing on negative aspects. Our findings suggest that industry professionals, particularly veterinarians, have an important role to play in knowledge transfer and the dissemination of research findings to horse owners. The efficacy of equine welfare communication could be improved if the information delivery preferences of equine stakeholders are were taken into consideration.

    Research areas

  • dissemination, yard owner, horse welfare, knowledge transfer, veterinarian

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