Animal Welfare: Horses, donkeys and hybrids

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Persons in charge of a horse have a legal responsibility to care for the horse. While most often it is the owner of a horse who is the ‘person in charge’ of the horse, the Animal Welfare Act 2002 defines a person in charge to include a person who has actual physical custody or control of the horse and the owner or occupier of land where the horse is kept.

Regardless of the purpose of the horse or the husbandry practices, there are basic requirements that must always be adhered to for the welfare of the horse.

Every reference to horses on this page refers to horses, donkeys and hybrids.

Horses are kept in Western Australia for a variety of purposes, including:

  • work (for example stock work, tourism, commercial, trail riding and carriage work)
  • competition (such as racing, eventing, jumping, showing and endurance riding)
  • pleasure riding or driving
  • breeding
  • as pets and companion animals
  • slaughter for meat and by-products.

Horses may be kept under a variety of conditions, from extensive grazing on unfenced land to intensive housing in individual stalls.

Welfare

Regardless of the purpose of the horse or the husbandry practices, there are basic requirements that must always be adhered to for the welfare of the horse. These include:

  • ready access to adequate food and water
  • freedom to move and exercise
  • access to suitable accommodation and shelter
  • social contact with other horses or other suitable companions
  • regular inspections to assess the need for attention to hooves, teeth and parasite control
  • rapid identification and treatment of injury and disease.

Contact information

Animal Welfare General Enquiries
Page last updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2017 - 4:32pm

Further information on reporting animal cruelty is available.