Archivos de medicina veterinaria
versión impresa ISSN 0301-732X
TADICH, T; ESCOBAR, A y PEARSON, RA. Husbandry and welfare aspects of urban draught horses in the south of Chile. Arch. med. vet. [online]. 2008, vol.40, n.3, pp. 267-273. ISSN 0301-732X. doi: 10.4067/S0301-732X2008000300007.
In the south of Chile draught horses are the main source of household income for many families and often these working horses are kept in conditions that are far from ideal. The aim of this study was to determine husbandry practices and welfare parameters for a group of sixty one urban draught horses belonging to fifty owners, from three cities (Valdivia, Osorno and Puerto Montt) in the south of Chile. Direct (animal-based) and indirect (owner based) methods were used to assess the welfare of the draught horses. Measurements included health status, behaviour and husbandry practices. Most animals were of a local sturdy type of horse, smaller than the large classical breeds of draught horses found in other temperate areas of the world. They were generally in good body condition (59%) and were alert (92%), with only a few showing aggressive responses when behaviour was assessed. The main problems found were related to hoof management and feeding practices. No association was found between taking horses to the farrier and good hoof conformation nor with the owners horse-related experience. This was thought to be mainly due to the owners lack of understanding of the husbandry, health and working practices needed to ensure that their horses performed well and met their requirements for work, without compromising their welfare. The community would benefit from an educational programme in the future.
Palabras clave : draught horses; welfare; husbandry; Chile.