Equestrian Australia should immediately adopt no trimming of horse whisker rules

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Equestrian Australia should immediately adopt no trimming of horse whisker rules

This petition made change with 1,204 supporters!
Abbie Hunt started this petition to Equestrian Australia

Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and National Equestrian Federations around the world have taken steps to prohibit the trimming of horse whiskers (vibrissae), Equestrian Australia needs to follow suit.

To date New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland and France have all listed the trimming of whiskers or vibrissae as prohibited under respective animal welfare law and/or competition regulations. 

Within Australia, the Pony Club Australia amended their syllabus in 2019 reflecting the latest scientific understandings of horse welfare.  With the sections on 'Trimming and Clipping' PCA explains that they now discourage the trimming of whiskers (vibrissae) on horse welfare grounds.

Equestrian Australia is well aware of these movements, reminding members of the new FEI regulations (commencing from 1 July 2021) which will apply to a small number of riders competing under FEI regulations. https://www.equestrian.org.au/news/horse-whiskers-must-stay-put

As Australia's national representative body for equestrian sport, we call on the EA to support the banning of trimming vibrissae, update the national rule book, and ensure that horses competing in Australia, under EA regulations are afforded the same animal welfare protection, as those in NZ, Germany, Switzerland and France.

From Professor Paul McGreevy.
“An area that seems highly tactile in horses is the muzzle. The whiskers (vibrissae) of the horse’s muzzle all have blood-filled sacs at their base to amplify movement. They help foals find the teat and adult horses to feel structures that surround the blind spot at the end of their nose. It is entirely appropriate that countries are banning the practice of whisker trimming. Ethically, modifying this sensory structure in pursuit of human aesthetics is very difficult to defend.”
McGreevy, P (2004) Equine Behaviour: a guide for veterinarians and equine scientists, Saunders, Edinburgh

Information provided by Equestrian Sport New Zealand outlining banning of whisker trimming NZ Equestrian article

Statement from PCA Pony Club Australia statement

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