A workshop will be held later this month to bring horse owners up to speed on a new code of practice for the care and handling of their equines.
It is set for Mon., Sept. 23 at the Coast Inn of the North, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m,. and will be hosted by the B.C. SPCA's equine veterinary specialist Dr. Bettina Bobsien.
Horse Council B.C. representatives will also be on hand
The new code, which came into practice on June 27, now stipulates 75 requirements for the care of horses, as well as donkeys and mules, up from 25 must-do statements for on-farm care in the 1998 code.
The standards are enforceable under B.C.s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
- Horses must have adequate nutrition and water and access to shelter that protects them from extreme weather;
- Horses must have enough space to lie down in normal resting posture, stand, walk forward and turn around in comfort;
- Feet must be trimmed and shod as often as is necessary to maintain hooves in functional condition;
- Lameness must be addressed, either through specific therapies or changes in management or workload;
- Horses must have some form of exercise or turnout;
- Handlers must be familiar with equine behaviour and competent in humane handling techniques, either through training, experience or mentorship;
- Horses must not be trained in a manner that subjects them to unnecessary pain or injury;
- Tail docking for cosmetic purposes is unacceptable and must not be performed.
The workshop is free and open to the public.
Interested participants can register online at spca.bc.ca/equine or request additional information by emailing i...@spca.bc.ca or calling toll-free: 1-800-665-1868.
The entire Equine Code of Practice can be downloaded on the National Farm Animal Care Council's website.
n At least one local horse-related allegation of animal cruelty is currently before the court.
Stephen Thomas Johnson faces three such charges after 15 horses were seized from his Prince George-area ranch in January 2011.
The matter had originally been set for a provincial court trial in March but the case was reassigned to another judge because of a conflict-of-interest concern and a new date of Aug. 12 was set. However, Johnson and his lawyer parted ways in the interim and he was given time to find new counsel.
But after Johnson failed to appear at the courthouse on Aug. 28 for a fix date hearing before the judicial case manager, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The new standards do not apply retroactively.