Equine Welfare


The Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 places a duty of care on pet owners and others responsible for animals (including horses, ponies and donkeys) to ensure that the welfare needs of their animals are met. It also allows the Scottish Parliament to make further regulations to regulate other animal-related activities including, for example, the running of livery yards. You can read the full paper here.

The duty of care is based on the "Five Freedoms":

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour
  • Freedom from fear and distress


The Scottish Government Code of Practice for the Welfare of Equidae gives advice on how to provide your horse or pony with care that ensures it has the five freedoms. The 75 point document is a practical guide for owners and keepers responsible for equines in Scotland and sets out the underpinning principles of horse care.

Many of our Member Bodies work tirelessly to improve horses welfare, contact them for more information.